With an incarceration rate of 617 per 100,000 people, North Carolina is often criticized for locking up more people than any other democracy does. In addition, prisons in North Carolina are often criticized for not maintaining law & order and using excessive force where it is not necessary.
As of 2022, over 36,000 prisoners are locked up in North Carolina’s State Prisons, and 56 correctional institutions are active throughout the state. The North Carolina Department of Correction (NCDOC) manages, administers, and rehabilitates these correctional facilities.
In this article, we will be looking into what makes the state prison system of North Carolina the worst and what are the 6 worst prisons in North Carolina.
Why did the North Carolina Department of Correction merge with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety?
In 2012, several North Carolina Department of Correction departments were merged with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. The merger happened due to the basic aim behind it was to improve the organizational balance and load that comes under NCDOC.
Despite the merger, NCDOC looks after all the state correctional facilities in North Carolina, thus giving it more expertise in managing prisons, while the rest of the duties fall under the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
The following duties come under the North Carolina Department of Public Safety:
- Regulation of alcoholic beverage sales.
- Administration of general services.
- Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice.
- Alcohol law enforcement.
- Community Corrections.
- Emergency Management.
- Governor’s crime commission.
- Law Enforcement Service Section.
- Parole Commission.
- Highway Patrol.
- State Capitol Police.
- Bureau of Investigation.
- Victim Services.
What Makes prisons in North Carolina Worst?
Overall there are plenty of reasons which make a prison worse, from poor hygiene to not taking proper care of the safety of prisoners from other gang members, to transporting prisoners under terrible conditions and denying their right to free time and seeking education.
However, the Prison problems in the state of North Carolina are a bit different. The two main reasons which make prison worst in North Carolina include:
- Staff shortages, primarily due to the merger of the North Carolina Department of Corrections, there is a shortage of jail staff and this results in prisons not being managed the way they should be and thus why fights among group members are very common.
- Guards and solitary confinement in the state prisons of North Carolina have been reported to be a way to torture thousands of prisoners. This was reported by NC Policy Watch, which suggests North Carolina’s criminal justice system has failed to provide adequate correctional facilities to the prisoners because the conditions of solitary confinement are hellish due to prisoners being locked up in small cells, given no sunlight, no showers or socializing and extremely poor quality of food. On top of it, these confinements are overcrowded and prisoners are to serve in them for months, if not weeks.
6 Worst prisons in the state of North Carolina:
The following are the worst prisons in the state of North Carolina:
1. Columbus Correctional Institute:
The Columbus Correctional Institute (CCI) is a medium security class prison in North Carolina. The prison is located in Whiteville, North Carolina, and has a capacity of 698 inmates. While many people believe CCI is not a big prison, it must not face any issues but they are extremely wrong about it.
The prison has had the highest number of prison murders in the state prisons of North Carolina, where 3 out of 2 inmates killed were from CCI in the year 2019. It is believed that the murder weapon used in both cases was made within the prison, and the reason for the murder is still unknown.
Many people eye towards the gangs that are formed within the prison since there is a regular occurrence of fights, so much so that oftentimes they are underreported by the authorities and the prison has been put on lockdown several times since the 2010s.
While CCI is a historic prison, no one wants to serve in it since the fear of life-threatening attacks by a gang member is always prevailing.
2. Lanesboro Correctional Institution:
Opened in 2004, Lanesboro Correctional Institution is also one of the most dangerous prisons in North Carolina. The prison has a capacity of 1800 inmates and is a medium to close security class depending on the offender's sentence.
The prison sees ongoing gang fights and coordinated activity, and to reduce some of the burdens, it was also merged with Brown Creek Correctional Camp.
In 2018, due to rampant fights and gang violence in prison, largely due to being understaffed, the authorities decided the only way to put an end to all the trouble was to make Lanesboro Correctional Institution an all-female prison, and the name will be changed to Anson Correctional Female Prison once the merger is complete.
Reports suggest that both things have not helped to calm down the prison and have gotten so out of hand that even the FBI is involved to find answers and look into ways to restore discipline and order.
3. Scotland Correctional Institution:
Scotland Correctional Institution is an all-state men’s prison that was opened in 2003. It is located in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and houses over 1,756 prisoners. Scotland Correctional Institution is a mixed security class prison and many believe this is where things get worse.
What makes this prison a living hell is rampant gang violence, leading officials to use excessive force on prisoners to bring discipline. This excessive force has been reported by family members of the inmates that their loved ones are sweltering inside the prisons since they are put on lockdown where food and ACs are controlled by authorities.
4. Tabor City Correctional Institution:
The fourth on our list is the Tabor City Correctional Institution. It was opened in 2008 and ever since, due to it being a level 5 security class prison, it has housed some of the most dangerous prisoners in the state of North Carolina.
Like other prisons in the state of North Carolina, the prison is also understaffed and has rampant gang violence. Since it houses such a large number of dangerous prisoners, being understaffed only worsens things, which at times has proven dangerous for even the authorities.
In 2018, one of the most violent prison escapes in the state of North Carolina happened, leaving 4 of the guards almost dead.
You can read more related articles:
- Minimum, Medium, and Maximum Level Prisons in the State of Pennsylvania
- Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5 Prisons in Ohio
- Byrd Unit Texas: Everything You Need To Know About This Facility
5. Alexander Correctional Institution:
The Alexander Correctional Institution (AXCI) is a closed security state prison for men which was opened in 2004.
The prison has a terrible record of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s guards using excessive force on prisoners, in fact, the use of extrajudicial force is so worse in this prison that several prisoners have been treated for brain damage and bone fractures.
What makes things even worse is that despite so much evidence, authorities fail to recognize these attacks, and very few guards have been reported to face disciplinary charges.
Neuse Correctional Institution:
The prison is a medium to minimum security level for the inmates and opened in 1994. Its total capacity is 816 and due to its location, it is considered one of the largest state prisons in North Carolina.
Over the years, the prison has a terrible record of sexual assault and gang violence, so much so that prisoners inside serving their time feel scared to come out as this could endanger their lives. Even those who were released after serving their time have not come public as they still fear that people in power can come after them or send someone.
You can read more related articles: