North Carolina Department of Correction news release

Last updated October 30, 1998

State continues to build major prisons

Raleigh - Even though the proverbial revolving prison door has stopped, prison construction hasn’t slowed. Two major prisons are under construction and several more are being planned.

Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution

Avery/Mitchell and Stanly counties are the latest prison construction sites. Both prisons will hold 624 inmates, both are medium custody, both cost $28 million to build, and both will bring jobs and an annual operating budget of $13 million to local communities.

With a spectacular mountain view, and bordered by the Toe River, the Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution is scheduled to open in late spring. Nearby, the small, 48-man field unit in Avery County will be converted from a medium custody to a minimum custody prison to house the prison’s painting and fencing crew. Inmates are currently being bussed from Buncombe Correctional Center to paint the inside of the expansive prison.

In Stanly county, the Albemarle Correctional Institution is scheduled to open next winter, located across the street from the National Guard and down the road from the Stanly County Airport. The new prison is different in design from any other prison in North Carolina.

"The public may not realize that prisons are still being built, but Gov. Jim Hunt’s strong commitment to putting dangerous criminals behind bars longer has not waned for an instant," Acting Secretary Joe Hamilton said. "The statistics have shown, as prisons go up, crime goes down."

Albemarle Correctional Institution

The State Legislature approved planning money for three new close-security institutions, one in Scotland County, one in Anson County and one in the northern piedmont section of the state.

Construction of a new hospital at Central Prison and expansions at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh and Warren Correctional Institution in Warrenton will be federally funded. Also, two private prisons have been built, one which opened recently in Pamlico County, the other will be dedicated soon next to the Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution.

Prison construction was spurred by a 1985 lawsuit in the South Piedmont Area decreeing that inmates get 50 square feet of living space. The first construction was mostly additions at existing prisons. In 1989, the General Assembly approved $75 million in bonds, and the first institutions to be built were Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Anson County, Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton and Pender Correctional Institution. Taxpayers approved another $200 million in bonds in a 1990 vote, and in 1993, Gov. Hunt called a Special Session on Crime which approved additional prison construction. Since that time, nine prisons, 500 beds or larger, have been built across the state. To date, the total cost has been $600 million.

"New sentencing laws and prison construction have ensured citizens that violent offenders are serving longer sentences with no parole," Hamilton said. "Department of Correction employees have worked at a hard and fast pace to turn an inadequate prison system into a model for the rest of the country. Convicted criminals won’t be turned out for lack of bed space anymore."


NC DOC Homepage
E-mail NC DOC