N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--June 1997

Gov. Hunt Dedicates Hyde Prison

Swan Quarter - A mile from the shores of Lake Mattamuskeet, Gov. Jim Hunt, Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis and Superintendent David Chester dedicated the state's newest prison, Hyde Correctional Center, Friday, May 5.

Before the speeches began, Hyde employees Belinda Long, Chrystal Thomas and Shandra Pugh sang the National Anthem. Chairman of the Hyde County Commissioners, Troy Lane Mayo, welcomed the group. Supt. Chester recognized the guests and introduced speakers.

Gov. Jim Hunt praised Sen. Marc Basnight and those who helped locate the 528-bed, medium-security prison in Hyde County where jobs are critical to the local economy. The prison employs 227 people and will have an annual payroll of $6.6 million dollars.

  Gov. Hunt shakes the hands of the three Hyde employees who sang the National Anthem.
Supt. Chester said that most of the new employees hired are from Hyde County and more than a third of all employees are female.

Hyde Correctional Center sits on 80 acres of land that used to be a cornfield. Earth moving equipment was brought in to elevate the prison site up to 11 feet above sea level. Sixteen environmental assessments were done on the land and each one determined that the prison would have no significant impact on the environment.

"We want to be good neighbors to the citizens of Hyde County as well as to the bears, red wolves, bald eagles and swans whose homes have been here longer than any of us," Secretary Jarvis said.

Jarvis said that opening new prisons such as Hyde has put an end to the revolving prison door. "Now that the Department of Correction has gotten a grip on the crime problem, Gov. Hunt has been able to turn his focus on education," Jarvis said. "No one can dispute that education, whether it be inside or outside the prison gates, is a critical factor in leading a crime-free life."

More than 80% of state prisoners test below a twelfth grade education, 56% below the eighth grade. Beaufort County Community College will provide classes to help inmates earn their high school equivalency degrees, and teach welding, drafting and electrical wiring.

Inmates will work as well. The Dept. of Transportation will supervise four prison road squads. A minimum security crew will work in the community, painting, picking up trash, and other jobs. Some inmates will be growing fresh vegetables for the prison on 35-acres.

Following the ribbon-cutting, guests toured the prison and had refreshments.

Gov. Hunt shakes hands with David Chester,
superintendent of Hyde Correctional Center.

NC DOC Correction News- June 1997
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