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10-Month Lockdown at North Carolina Prison Caused by Fights or Understaffing

About 600 prisoners at North Carolina’s Scotland Correctional Institution (SCI) were on a 10-month lockdown as of September 2014.  The lockdown proceeded in stages from total isolation to a few privileges.

The lockdown began on December 28, 2013, after four prisoners were involved in two fights.  “No one was stabbed or cut, and no staff was hurt,” wrote one prisoner.

Another prisoner at SCI described the conditions in a letter to Solitary Watch.  “While on lockdown, we’ve been through different stages.  Stage one, we were on lockdown for 24 a day hours without being allowed to shower.  It was like this for a month.  Then, the officers started taking us to the shower one day out of the week with handcuffs on so tight that it made it difficult for us to wash.  Stage two, they let 12 of us out of our cells to rec in the dayroom for one hour.  Next, they let 24 of us out for two hours.  We haven’t had any outside rec since Dec. 28, 2013, and our skin and health is showing that.”

The lockdown was acknowledged by Keith Acree, communications officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.  “At this point, the lockdown for close custody regular population (RPDP) has stepped down to a point that we call ‘managed observation’.  Close custody RPDP inmates are now allowed about 4 hours of out-of-cell time daily (compared to about 8 hours before the Dec. 28 fights that began the lockdown),” he said.  “Religious services have not yet resumed,” but visitation, outdoor recreation time, and telephone use had resumed.

The fights may have catapulted the lockdown, but it may not have been the real cause.  “They tell our families that they are understaffed, but that isn’t our problem,” a prisoner wrote.

Acree said he was “not aware of any issues like that.”


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