N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--December 1997
Longtime Vance Superintendent J.J. Hayes Retires
|Oxford - J.J. Hayes,
superintendent of Umstead Correctional Center, retired
Oct. 1. He began his career at Granville Correctional
Center March 1, 1964 as a correctional officer.
"At the time, this was about as good a job as you could get around here," Hayes said. He had been a salesman for Pine State Creamery, but wanted a more stable job.
The job may have been stable, but he met with several close-calls. One was when he was searching for an Orange County escapee. At midnight, Major Burnice Turner left Hayes and another officer to continue the search. As he was driving along, a bullet hit the windshield where the rear-view mirror was. He was unhurt even though he wound up with his truck in a ditch. No one could ever pin down who had fired the shot, but an ex-inmate who lived in the area was suspected.
Another time, Hayes had gone to Durham to pick up five inmates, two being felons. Hayes wanted to take them in separate trips down the elevator to the car, but the jailer insisted he knew them all and it would be all right to take them in one trip. Hayes was uncomfortable with having two officers with weapons and five inmates in the elevator together. As soon as the elevator door opened, one ran for freedom. Hayes ran after him, but tripped on a chain, causing him to fire his gun accidentally. The escapee later said the bullet whizzed by his head.
Learning to use his own good judgment from then on, Hayes moved up through the ranks and is best known for being the superintendent for 11 years of Vance Correctional Center until the prison closed last year.
Hayes said the Department of Correction has come a long way over the years and today we are dealing with a more intelligent inmate and a more intelligent staff. He says that the state will always need small prisons because some inmates just dont function well in big institutions. He said large institutions would send Hayes problem inmates and they settled right in and were never disruptive at the small field unit in Vance County.
"Like many of those who made corrections a life-long career, J.J. Hayes was dedicated to doing a good job and I appreciate the solid contribution he made to this department," Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis said.
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