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


Raleigh - Secretary Mack Jarvis presented DOC’s top employee award to Black Mountain Superintendent Renae Brame during a reception in the Governor’s Press Conference Room Oct. 28.

"Ms. Brame’s numerous talents and skills have been a tremendous asset to the Department of Correction," said Secretary Jarvis. "She’s energetic, dedicated and a model employee who is highly respected across the state. I’m proud to bestow this honor upon such a deserving person."

Brame, who has been supervising the Black Mountain prison since 1989, has a long list of accomplishments. She spearheaded a campaign to raise $16,000 in private funds to construct a chapel and multipurpose room at her prison. She designed a stained glass window in the chapel which Secretary Jarvis described as "beautiful and inspirational." Brame also established the first Community Service Project in DOC. Selected inmates and staff work alongside Prison Fellowship volunteers to renovate and repair the homes of elderly and low-income residents. A 25-year veteran of DOC, Brame started a Mother-Child retreat at her prison. This program allows inmate mothers (accompanied by volunteers) to spend quality time with their minor children at a local retreat center.

Also honored at the same reception were DOC’s 1997 nominees for the Governor’s Awards for Excellence. The following is a short bio on each of the nominees.

Clayton Bennett, Jr. is chief probation and parole officer in Anson, Moore and Richmond counties. Although he’s affiliated with several local organizations, one of those closest to his heart involves children and education. Mr. Bennett has been a member of the Anson County Board of Education for fifteen years and board chairman for the last two years. During his time on the board, there have been constant improvements in school buildings and academic achievement.

Johnny L. Deyton, judicial district manager for the 24th district, is based in Madison County. He also has a strong interest in children and education. He’s been a member of the Yancey County School Board for seven years and has served as chairman the last two years. Although demanding, school board activities have not detracted from Mr. Deyton’s continued hands-on involvement with children. He has served as a mentor for a youth-at-risk program and is always active in the coaching and promotion of athletics. He currently serves as volunteer volleyball coach at Mountain Heritage High School.

DOC’s 1997 nominees for the
Governor’s Awards for Excellence

If you think that everyone with 36 years of employment at DOC is ready for retirement, then you haven’t met Ruth Dupree. She recently took on the tremendous challenge of opening the department’s first regional employment office at McCain. Ms. Dupee has trained the staff in salary administration, employment processing, testing policies and procedures. Her expertise will be helpful when the next regional employment office opens in the western part of the state. The regional office has improved employment procedures, reduced the length of time to get applicants hired and has resulted in a cost savings to DOC.

Betty McGuire is assistant director for administrative services in the Division of Prisons. I don’t know what her middle name is but it should be savings. At a time of massive growth and change at DOC, Ms. McGuire’s accounting skills have made the entire budget process clear. Her management of the budget allows me to make legislative and executive office presentations in an accurate and persuasive manner. Ms. McGuire has established operating budgets for all 92 prisons. She has negotiated better rates with utility companies for prisons saving taxpayers nearly $40,000 annually. Ms. McGuire worked with the purchasing officer to acquire more warehouse space, allowing DOC to purchase in larger quantities. This translates into a savings of more than $500,000 annually in food purchases alone.

Horace Ryan Aycock is a correctional officer at Caledonia. Last December, Mr. Aycock was on his way home from work when he noticed smoke coming from the roof of a house and a child in the front doorway. Mr. Aycock quickly pulled over and ran to the burning house. The child said his mother and sister were still in the house. Without regard for his own safety, Mr. Aycock searched the house until he found the other occupants and helped them outside to safety. Although the family lost their home, thanks to Mr. Aycock, they have something much more important, their lives.

Officers John Andrews and Paul Jones work at Franklin Correctional Center. Earlier this year, these men were loading a medium custody inmate road squad into a security van. Andrews noticed a pickup truck nearby pulling a trailer filled with landscaping hay that was on fire. Officers Andrews and Jones maintained armed supervision of the inmate work crew. Another officer motioned to the truck driver to stop. Flames shot three feet above the top of the hay. Officers grabbed a fire extinguisher and two garden rakes from the DOC work van. They put out the fire and raked the hay off the trailer. This is the type of team work that makes DOC admired and respected across the state. Thanks to quick thinking and excellent team work, the inmates remained under armed supervision and the truck driver was not injured and didn’t lose his trailer.

Sgt. Eddie Overby and Officer Linzy Clifton also work at Franklin Correctional Center. They were traveling down the highway when they discovered two vehicles that had just been involved in an accident. Officer Clifton stopped traffic while Sgt. Overby checked on two accident victims who suffered minor injuries and helped them to the side of the road. The officers assisted in having the vehicles removed from the highway to avoid another accident. Then they used their radio to alert highway patrol and stayed at the scene until help arrived. These men could have looked the other way and chosen not to get involved but they didn’t. They quickly sprung into action to help someone in need and I thank you.

Betty M. Beam is judicial district manager in Forsyth County. Working with the local district attorney’s office, Ms. Beam developed a separate court calendar for probation violation hearings. This increased efficiency by eliminating extra time in court awaiting hearings. She has also helped to establish an electronic fingerprinting repository between her staff and the local police department. This has enhanced crime solving in Forsyth County.

Flint M. Benson is assistant superintendent at Bladen Youth Center. He has coached local youth athletic teams giving of his time, money and energy to help our young people. He walks several miles each year in local parades as a Shrine "Ghostbuster," raising money for crippled children. At Christmas time last year, Mr. Benson heard of a need in Bladen County to collect toys for foster children. He went to an auction house and set up boxes where patrons could make donations. He collected hundreds of dollars worth of toys on behalf of employees at Bladen. A lot of children had happy holidays thanks to Mr. Benson.

Phillip K. Bowen is a correctional officer at Odom. Last year he was in the prison’s tower doing inventory when a car quickly pulled up and the doors flew open. The occupants were calling for assistance and indicating that a child in the car was not breathing. Bowen raced to the car and discovered a two-year-old who was neither responsive nor breathing. Bowen used his DOC training and began rescue breathing while another officer called for more medical assistance. Odom’s nursing team worked on the child until a rescue squad arrived and took the little girl to the local hospital. She’s doing fine now, thanks to Mr. Bowen’s quick action.

Scott Henry Britton is a transportation officer at Green Correctional Center. He was in Germany and Bosnia from July 1996 through March of this year. His National Guard unit was mobilized for service during the Bosnian crisis. DOC appreciates Mr. Britton’s service not only to this state but to our country. He bravely put himself in the middle of extreme danger for his country. I’m really glad to have him back home and I’m sure he’s glad to be back.

David W. Chester is superintendent at Hyde Correctional Center. He’s had one of the toughest jobs in this department...opening and staffing a medium custody prison in a remote section of the state. In spite of the many obstacles and challenges, Mr. Chester got the prison open and running and is doing a fine job overseeing one of our newest prisons. Mr. Chester has earned a reputation as an efficient administrator who can develop and implement a large project and then see it through to completion. Through Mr. Chester’s efforts, the groundwork has been laid for continued community support through the establishment of a good relationship with county leaders and local industry.

David E. Cothron is a correctional officer at Marion Correctional Institution. He consistently comes in early and works late to cover staff shortages. He trains new employees in the standard operating procedures at Marion. He also trains other staff on the OPUS system. Although he has taken on the responsibilities of an acting sergeant, Mr. Cothron still manages to fulfill his duties as a correctional officer and he does this well. His positive, upbeat attitude helps take the edge off a stressful profession.

Cathy S. Dixon is the grievance screening officer at Pender Correctional Institution. Ms. Dixon is very dedicated to her job and often goes beyond the call of duty. When Ms. Dixon’s mother passed away earlier this year, Ms. Dixon reported to work long enough to make sure the grievances over a holiday weekend were taken care of and up-to-date. She was also very helpful in the command center during hurricanes Bertha and Fran.

Isiah Gore is a correctional officer at Pender Correctional Institution. Last April, he just happened to be glancing out the window in his home when he noticed a vehicle being driven at a high rate of speed and crashing into a pine tree. Officer Gore immediately dialed 9-1-1 and reported the accident. He then rushed outside to check on the driver, a teenager who had already been removed from the vehicle. The victim was not breathing and had no pulse. Officer Gore began C-P-R until a rescue squad arrived. The victim soon began breathing and showing a pulse. Although the teenager later died at the hospital, Officer Gore is to be commended for doing everything he could to help out someone in need.

Melvin D. Noles is an administrative assistant in the infirmary at Central Prison. His work never ends. If he’s not scheduling incoming appointments, he’s arranging for inmate appointments at outside medical facilities. He plans, documents, and coordinates information regarding the special medical needs of critically ill patients. He assists other prisons in completing diagnostic evaluations that have been requested by doctors at Central Prison. Mr. Noles also assists with the notification of inmate deaths to families, DOC personnel and other state agencies.

Christina Peck is a correctional officer at Pender. She was working in the dining hall last January when she noticed an inmate walk by her holding his throat. After following the inmate and realizing that he was choking, Officer Peck applied the Heimlich Maneuver. A piece of food in the inmate’s throat was dislodged. Officer Peck’s sharp eyes and quick reaction helped save an inmate’s life.

Gloria Pinkston is in charge of the Exceptional Student Program at Morrison Youth Institution. This program assists students with emotional, mental or behavioral problems. Ms. Pinkston must screen, interview and test all students. Each of them placed in the program is the culmination of hours of work and dedicated service. Ms. Pinkston always double checks and insures that every form is filled out correctly and every step is followed.

Danny Safrit is deputy administrator for the North Piedmont Area. He is also safety coordinator for the area and has ensured that all facilities are in compliance with the safety policy. His assistance with bringing six more prisons on line when the western area closed was invaluable. Even before coming to the area office, Mr. Safrit was respected for his management style. While superintendent at Sandy Ridge, Mr. Safrit saw other prison administrators tour his facility - which was considered a model. State health inspection scores improved dramatically.

Jackie Townsend is classification coordinator at Foothills. She developed an OPUS step-by-step instructional booklet for all Foothills staff. At one point, when her staff was down by 50 percent, her office maintained a high level of productivity. That’s because of Ms. Townsend’s foresight to cross-train her employees. Her office is responsible for population control, transfers, paroles and releases. Her office regularly faces stressful and last-minute decisions that require special planning. She’s always come through.

NC DOC Correction News- December 1997
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