North Carolina Department of Correction

Western Youth Institution - 25 Years of Service

Director of Prisons Dan Stieneke
(served as Western Youth Institution Superintendent 1977-1986)

As Director of Prisons, I get an opportunity to travel around the state and see a lot of different facilities and a lot of different people. Invariably, I find people that have an association with Western. When we were short of staff at Western and they came here and lived here for a week or two and then went back, they remember that experience. Many have been here and gone on to other facilities and gotten promotions and done pretty well.

In August 1977, I was 27 years old and had been with this agency for three years, I drove around that corner down there and realized this was going to be a facility that I was going to be connected with for some time. At that stage in my career, I needed some help to operate this facility. I would like to publicly thank Bob Smith, George Green, Robert Caldwell and many of the rest of you here, who helped me through that adjustment period. I was a quick study and I learned, sometimes not always pleasantly, but I learned and I appreciate that experience.

I was probably young enough and figured that we could take chances that we did do a lot of innovative things. Western had a long history of trying innovative, different things, sometimes at risk, but with the goal of helping the residents of this facility. I think that heritage has made Western stand apart in our system.

As long as we stay true to one thing--we care about the residents of this facility and we're going to try to work with them to make them better and more productive citizens. As long as we do that, this facility will continue to have as good a future as its history of the past 25 years.