|North Carolina Department of Public Safety|
Blanch Youth Institution, near Yanceyville, was a close security prison for male youth when it closed in 1999.
In the late 1930's, the state purchased a tract of land from local resident John Mitchell. The portion of the land purchased was considered a local landmark nicknamed, Ivy Bluff. Additional acreage was purchased from Mitchell in the 1950's for a total of approximately 58 acres.
In July 1956, Ivy Bluff Prison opened as a maximum security prison for inmates who proved too difficult for Central Prison to house.
The prison buildings were constructed of red brick and have flat roofs and concrete floors. Administrative offices and a visitors' room were located in the center of the main building and were separated from the inmate housing areas. Originally, there were two cell blocks, one on each side of a central corridor. From a control room above the administrative offices, correction officers could observe activity in each wing of the building and control the opening and closing of cell doors. Inmates worked at a rock quarry about a quarter mile from the prison.
Described as escape-proof when it opened, the prison received national attention in December 1959 when 20 maximum custody inmates escaped.
In 1963, Ivy Bluff was renamed Blanch Prison and changed from maximum to medium security to house inmates who had health problems that kept them from working. In 1966, the prison population changed to medium custody inmates assigned to work on road squads.
In 1967, renovations began at the prison.
Only inmates working on the construction were housed there. A second floor was added to the main building and the entire facility was converted to single cells. The prison reopened in October 1973 as a close security single cell prison. At that time, Blanch was the only completely single cell prison in the state.
In October 1983, Blanch was converted to a youth facility to house inmates between the ages of 18 and 21 who had become discipline problems at other prisons.
Today, Blanch has 96 single cells, 20 segregation cells and eight two-man special quarters cells provided for the 16 inmates who work at the prison as kitchen help or groundskeepers. Correction staff use a program of behavior adjustment that provides privileges for improved attitudes.
Inmates who show improvement will be returned to a prison where they will resume rehabilitative programs seeking to prepare them for the eventual return to society.
Correction Enterprises opened a metal products plant at Blanch in 1971. The plant produces stainless steel and black iron products for state facilities. Seven Enterprise employees and five Blanch Youth Institution custody staff supervise medium custody inmates from Caswell Correctional Center and minimum custody inmates from Dan River Prison Work Farm at the plant.
DIRECTIONS - Take I-40/85 to Hillsborough and take N.C. 86 north. Turn right on N.C. 62 north in Yanceyville. Drive 4.5 miles north of Yanceyville, then turn right onto High Rock School Road. The prison will be two miles down the road and on the left.
Blanch closes its gates for good Sept. 1999 Correction News
Seven small field units close up shop Sept. 1999 Correction News
Three prisons get new superintendents: Haynes at Blanch 11/96
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