1996: A Challenging Year for DOC
|As the curtain begins to fall on 1996, I often reflect on the past 12 months and the many opportunities they brought. My heart is filled with gratitude and thanks to DOC employees who continuously put forth their best effort everyday. This year will probably be remembered as one of the most challenging yet productive years in DOC. Thanks to top-notch employees such as yourselves, this department has a long list of accomplishments. Allow me to highlight some of the important steps DOC took this year to continue moving forward.|
The ice and snow storms in January made it difficult for many state employees to get to work. But many of you came anyway, sacrificing your safety for the good of this state. There were numerous examples of DOC employees helping communities and neighbors, working double shifts, and going beyond the call of duty to help ensure public safety. DOC responded quickly to Gov. Hunt's directive for inmates to assist with the cleanup. Employees supervised inmates who helped local governments and schools with snow and ice removal. Twenty-two prison work crews with 220 inmates cleared sidewalks and driveways for county buildings, law enforcement and EMS stations in 14 counties.
When hurricanes Bertha and Fran struck later in the year, DOC staff and inmates again rose to the challenge cleaning school grounds, beaches, city streets, and saving some of our state's multimillion dollar tobacco crop. It was heartwarming to see people pulling together during these trying times. Correction Enterprise donated four tons of food to the Food Bank warehouse Sept. 17. Employees pitched in with their own collection of food items for hurricane victims. This outpouring of love was a strong indication of how involved and interested we are in our communities. It's easy to understand why DOC has the reputation of having some of the best and most compassionate employees in state government.
An additional 714 inmates will be phased in the Governor's Community Work Program, bringing the new total to 1,974. I continue to get thank you letters from communities across the state who appreciate the free inmate labor.
During this year's legislative session, more than $2.3 million was earmarked for the planning and design of new prisons in Alexander and Scotland counties and one in a metro area. Expansions are being planned for Central Prison, Warren Correctional Institution and NCCIW. The money is also being used for the design of a central office for DOC employees.
Three new probation officer positions will be helpful with the supervision of sex offenders. Several other probation programs including Women at Risk in Buncombe County and the Summit House in Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh received funding.
Many North Carolina inmates being housed in out-of-state prisons will be returning home soon because of hundreds of new prison beds opening. One of the largest new prisons which opened this year was Pasquotank Correctional Institution, a 712-cell close custody prison in Elizabeth City. A 250-bed minimum custody prison stands beside the main prison. Craven Correctional Institution, the state's largest prison processing center, opened in October.
These milestones and many others could not have been accomplished without everybody pulling together. But no matter how long DOC's list of accomplishments is for 1996, we should not allow ourselves to become content. We're about to start a new year, a year that may require even more dedication, hard work, communication, and cooperation. Let's strive to make our best better.
On behalf of my family, I wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays. Remember to keep good cheer and the spirit of helpfulness not just for the holidays but throughout the new year.
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