NC Prisons

Photo of a prison cell.
Pxhere

North Carolina has been in the midst of a prison staffing crisis for years. In 2017, shortages at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City contributed to a violent escape attempt that left four prison workers dead.

Drone in flight
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

An app being developed by engineers at Duke University could help prison officials prevent drones from delivering contraband to inmates.

A woman in a prison cell
Officer Bimblebury / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2JTob1G

The number of incarcerated women in North Carolina is growing faster than the number of incarcerated men. According to statistics from Prison Policy Initiative, the number of women in the state prison population increased 19% from 2009 to 2015. In that same time period the number of men in the state prison population increased only one percent.

reentry simulation
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

At the Lexington Police Department building, just 30 minutes south of Greensboro, dozens of people are running around trying to avoid going back to jail. Some are registering for state ID cards, while others are attempting to put cash in their pockets by pawning off whatever they own.

Paula Poundstone On 39 Years Of Funny

Oct 26, 2018
Michael Schwartz

Paula Poundstone got her start as a stand-up comedian nearly four decades ago at open mic nights, meticulously planning out her jokes but invariably ad libbing. Over the course of her career in comedy, she has worked to strip away the scripted nature of her routines to become truly improvisational. She has also let her witty humor wander farther and farther from the stage, as a voice actor, NPR quiz show personality, author and most recently podcast host. Poundstone is the author of "The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness" and the host of the weekly podcast "Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone." 

These Women Are Giving Voice To A Prison Sentence

Oct 26, 2018
courtesy of Susannah Long

There is some scripture that inmates at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women can deeply relate to: stories about women who suffer at the hands of abusers and decide to fight back, and text that exalts God despite challenges and pain on earth. When musician and prison volunteer Susannah Long started a songwriting workshop in the facility, she used this scripture as the jumping-off point for inmates to express their lived experience by creating their own songs. 

Courtesy of Noran Sanford

As a counselor in Laurinburg, North Carolina, Noran Sanford provided therapy to young people whose backgrounds weren’t too far removed from his own. These boys came from broken homes, struggled with poverty and addiction and lost family members to violence. But as he stood over yet another grave of a talented young man he had tried to help, Sanford knew he hadn’t done enough.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Inmates around the country are on strike demanding improved prison conditions, better pay and increased rehabilitation services. The National Prison Strike started Tuesday, and is set to end on Sunday, Sept. 9.  

Courtesy of Hope Larson

For decades, dedicated readers have scoured their local comic book stores for the latest issue of their favorite superhero story. But look past the capes and one will quickly come across comics and graphic novels that offer complex and critical analyses of politics and society. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” to recent issues of “Black Panther,” graphic novels and comics allow readers to engage with dense topics and relate to diverse characters and experiences. 

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Two more employees have been attacked by an inmate at North Carolina's Central Prison.

The Department of Public Safety said in a news release that the latest attack happened Wednesday morning in a dining area at the prison in Raleigh.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

While incarcerated it is a constitutional right for inmates to receive medical care. But what happens when inmates are released and no longer have access to health services? The reality is they often go without medication or treatment. Considering prisons have become the largest mental healthcare providers in America, it is in the interest of public safety to remedy that gap in coverage.

The inside of a cell at central prison.
Courtesy of Rose Hoban

Is the North Carolina Department of Public Safety breaking its own rules? A 2016 policy change prohibits inmates with mental health issues from being held in solitary confinement for more than 30 days. So why was Devon Davis, who is developmentally delayed and has mental illness, kept in solitary for more than five months last year?

photo of a barbed wire fence
Pxhere / Public Domain

Most state prison employees charged with crimes while on duty get off with little punishment, according to a new review from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. From 2013-2017, 57 employees were charged, and only four got prison time. 60 percent of criminal charges were dismissed.

A barbed wire fence stock image
Pxhere / Public Domain

Staffing and safety issues inside North Carolina prisons are at a perilous point. In 2017, five corrections officers were killed in violent incidents at Bertie and Pasquotank Correctional Institutions. And according to new reports, the deaths are a symptom of a bigger problem.