North Carolina Temporarily Closes Three Prisons for Lack of Guards; Final One Reopens During COVID-19 Pandemic
by Ed Lyon
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (DACJJ) has been in a severe crisis mode regarding prison guard understaffing. The August 2019 vacancy rate was 21 percent, causing prisons to be unable to safely.
DPS and DACJJ administrators decided to close three of their minimum-security facilities, on a temporary basis, to allow them to operate their remaining prisons at a constitutionally acceptable level. Yet prisoner Scott Whitmeyer was stabbed to death on the evening of September 28, 2019. He was assigned to Whiteville’s Columbus Correctional Institution and was living in a dormitory within the medium-security prison.
Republican state Senator Bob Steinburg questioned the closing of the three prisons. One of them is in Steinburg’s district and another is not far away, which would no doubt cause an economic slowdown for his constituents. Steinburg issued a statement saying that “Secretary Moose and senior staff at the Division of Adult Corrections have agreed to appear before the Senate Select Committee of Prison Safety so that other Senators may ask questions.”
There were multiple delays. However, by August 2020 all three prisons had been reopened. On August 10, State Treasurer Dale Folwell stated that more than 100 prisoners would be sent to the Tyrrell Prison Work Farm. “Not only will it help the economy of the area, but it will help alleviate the overcrowding in other prisons that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to inmates and employees of the prisons,” he said. He thanked Steinburg and other senators for pushing for the three prisons to be reopened.
More from this issue:
- Milestone: Thirty Years of Prison Legal News and the Human Rights Defense Center, by Paul Wright
- From the Editor, by Paul Wright
- Fifth Circuit Reinstates Lawsuit Over Texas Jail Prisoner’s Death, by Matthew Clarke
- Denied Medical Care During Pandemic, New Jersey Prisoner Treats Infected Wound With Bleach, by Dale Chappell
- Ninth Circuit: No Summary Judgment for Prison Officials Who Allegedly Allowed Attack on Nevada Prisoner, by David Reutter
- Lives at Stake as Pennsylvania County De-privatizes Prison, by David Reutter
- Coronavirus: A Second Wave of Infection, by Michael D. Cohen, MD
- Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses Another Arizona Republican Primary, by Matthew Clarke
- Eleventh Circuit Vacates COVID-19 Injunction Against Miami Jail, by David Reutter
- Nebraska Declares Overcrowding Emergency in State Prisons, by Kevin Bliss
- Federal Judge Rules Prisoners Eligible for $1,200 Stimulus Checks; Application Deadline Extended to Nov. 21 for Online Filing, by Derek Gilna
- Fourth Circuit: Opening of Detainee’s Legal Mail Outside His Presence Violates Right to Free Speech, by David Reutter
- California Prison Guards Keep Jobs After Aiding Attacks on Sex Offenders, by Jayson Hawkins
- Texas: Prison Air Conditioning Needs Revisiting, by Edward Lyon
- Efforts to Keep COVID-19 Out of Montana Prisons Fuels Outbreaks in County Jails, by Alex Sakariassen
- Denial of Recruitment of Counsel for Wisconsin Prisoner Affirmed by Seventh Circuit, by David Reutter
- DOJ Finds Frequent Use of Excessive Force in Alabama Prisons, by David Reutter
- Third Circuit: District Court Erred in Ruling Against Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Civil Rights Complaint, by David Reutter
- Two-Thirds of Nevada Prisoners Confined in Arizona Private Prison Test Positive for COVID-19, by Mark Wilson
- Washington Prisoner’s State Public Records Act Lawsuit Results in His Freedom and $111,194 Award, by Matthew Clarke
- New Jersey Guard Acquitted in Sex Scandal, by David Reutter
- North Carolina Temporarily Closes Three Prisons for Lack of Guards; Final One Reopens During COVID-19 Pandemic, by Edward Lyon
- $225,000 Windfall in Lehigh County, Pa. But Officials Don’t Cut Jail Phone Costs, by David Reutter
- Second Circuit Reverses Summary Dismissal of Connecticut Prisoner’s Failure-to-Protect Lawsuit, by Matthew Clarke
- Private Prison Industry Ramped Up Campaign Contributions, Favoring Republicans, by Derek Gilna
- Pennsylvania Prisoner Loses Part of Leg, Wins Appeal in Precedential Grievance Process Case, by David Reutter
- Investment Firm Buys Corizon, by Matthew Clarke
- Florida Spent $1.7 Million, and Counting, to Impede Felon Voting Rights, by David Reutter
- $1.25 Million Settlement Against Tennessee County Over Sheriff’s Violations of Labor Law, by Douglas Ankney
- Ankle Monitor Shortage at Chicago Jail Put Prisoner Releases During COVID in Limbo, by David Reutter
- Violence at New York City’s Rikers Island Jail Increasing Even as Population Falls, by Edward Lyon
- Failed Michigan Jail Site to Host Innovation Center, by David Reutter
- Second Circuit: Denial of Exercise Over Four Months Defeats Summary Judgment, by David Reutter
- Report: Screening Failures Cited in COVID-19 Outbreak in California Prisons, by Kevin Bliss
- Rikers Island Death Case Against City of New York Settles for $5.5 Million, by Derek Gilna
- Families of 4 Alabama Prisoners Who Committed Suicide File Federal Lawsuit Against Prison Officials, by Matthew Clarke
- ICE Detainees Pepper-Sprayed Over Hunger Strike, by Daniel A. Rosen
- Connecticut: Summary Judgment Denied in Deliberate Indifference Case Where Facial Lesion Turned Out To Be Skin Cancer, by Chad Marks
- Eleventh Circuit: Florida’s Treatment Plan for Hepatitis C-Positive Prisoners Constitutional, by David Reutter
- Sixth Circuit Reverses and Allows Ohio Prisoner’s Civil Rights Lawsuit to Proceed, by David Reutter
- Fourth Circuit Orders Sealing of North Carolina Court’s Order to “Protect Defendant from Harm”, by David Reutter
- Mental Health Crisis in California’s Lock-Ups Worsens With COVID-19, by Edward Lyon
- Native Americans Protest Theft of Alcatraz Island, by Edward Lyon
- Temporary Halt of Federal Prison Labor at National Parks, but New Policy Proposed To Resume It, by Jayson Hawkins
- $70,000 Settlement in Private Firm’s Failure to Treat Arizona Prisoner’s Broken Wrist, by David Reutter
- Guard Violates Eighth Amendment by Brandishing Knife and Threatening Prisoner’s Life, by David Reutter
- Seventh Circuit Dismisses Summary Judgment for Defendants in Illinois Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Beating, Choking, by David Reutter
- HRDC Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Colorado Sheriff for Censorship of Prisoner Publications, by Derek Gilna
- New York City BOP Prisoner Dies After Being Pepper-Sprayed, by Kevin Bliss
- Captain Accused of Abusing Mentally Ill Prisoners Cleared in Internal Investigation, by Kevin Bliss
- Former Pennsylvania Prison All Solitary with Silence Mandatory, by Edward Lyon
- Alabama Executes Non-Shooter in Police Killings, by David Reutter
- Former Angola Warden Burl Cain Appointed Head of Mississippi Prison System, by Matthew Clarke
- News in Brief
- Massachusetts Jail Phone Cost Reductions Under Attack, by Edward Lyon
More from Edward Lyon:
- Collateral Consequences of Mass Incarceration, Feb. 1, 2021
- COVID-19: What Texas Must Do to Save Prisoners’ Lives, Feb. 1, 2021
- Legislative Exemption Let Fired Alaska Cop Be Rehired as Jailer, Feb. 1, 2021
- Minnesota Man Out of Prison After Being Exonerated of Murder, Feb. 1, 2021
- Decline in South Dakota State Prisoners Not Due to COVID, Feb. 1, 2021
- Athlete Settles Tasing Suit Against Milwaukee Police, Jan. 15, 2021
- Tennessee Juvenile Murderer’s Sentence Commuted, Jan. 1, 2021
- New Book on Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Jan. 1, 2021
- Louisiana’s COVID-19 Prisoner Furlough Panel Next to Useless, Jan. 1, 2021
- U.S. Prisons Originally Designed to Prevent Spread of Disease Become Breeding Ground During Pandemic, Jan. 1, 2021
More from these topics:
- Overtime Payouts in California Prison System Approach $500 Million, Feb. 1, 2021. Staffing.
- No-Show Prison Workers Cost Mississippi Taxpayers Millions, Feb. 1, 2021. Cost of Prison Systems, Staffing.
- Violence at New York City’s Rikers Island Jail Increasing Even as Population Falls, Nov. 1, 2020. Staffing, Excessive Force.
- $37,500 Settlement in Discrimination Suit Against Corizon Health, Oct. 3, 2020. Corizon, Racial Discrimination, Work Conditions/Safety.
- National Guard Called in to Help Run Indiana State Prisons, Oct. 1, 2020. COVID-19, Staffing.
- Captain at Jail Where Epstein Died Offered New Position of Authority; Warden Remains on Desk Duty, Aug. 1, 2020. DOC/BOP misconduct, Staffing.
- Mississippi Prisons in Crisis, July 1, 2020. Prison Gangs, Cost of Prison Systems, Overcrowding, Staffing.
- Rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gatti Help Prisoners in Mississippi Sue State Over “Inhumane and Unconstitutional Conditions”, July 1, 2020. Cost of Prison Systems, Conditions of Confinement, Staffing.
- All 50 States Report Prison Understaffing, April 1, 2020. Failure to Protect (General), Overcrowding, Staffing.
- Florida Lowers Minimum Age for Prison Guards But Fails to End Staff Shortages, April 1, 2020. Staffing.