James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Joe Hamilton, Acting Secretary
Patty McQuillan, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926

FEBRUARY 26, 1999

RALEIGH — State prisoners are pitching in and doing their part to help prepare the Triangle for the world’s largest sporting event of 1999, the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Since Feb. 22, 60 inmates from prisons across the state have been loading up truckloads of debris from the grounds of old Polk Youth Institution in preparation for occupancy by the National Guard.

Members of the National Guard, along with more than 30,000 volunteers, will be on-hand this summer to provide much-needed support when more than 7,000 athletes from 150 countries descend on the Triangle June 26 to July 4 to compete in 19 different sports.

During their stay in the Triangle, members of the National Guard will be stationed at the former prison located off Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh.

Old Polk quit housing inmates in November 1997 after a new prison was built in Granville County.

Inmates from the Dan River Prison Work Farm, Sanford Correctional Center, Durham Correctional Center, Greene Correctional Center and Tillery Correctional Center will be working at the former prison through the end of next week removing wire, metal and other debris from the prison grounds to make room for tents that will be erected to house the National Guard’s support operations. In addition to cleaning the grounds, the inmates will also be cleaning the outside of three buildings that will be used as headquarters for members of the National Guard.

While the inmates are cleaning the outside of the prison, several youthful offenders from the IMPACT boot camp will be busy washing, scrubbing and painting the inside of the buildings.

Paint and other cleaning supplies have been donated for the cleanup effort by Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, a corporate sponsor of the 1999 World Summer Games.

The inmates participating in the cleanup effort are part of the Governor's Community Work Program. Under the program, a correction officer supervises a crew of up to 10 minimum custody inmates on short term, manual labor projects for local governments and state agencies. In 1998 alone, inmates participating in the program worked more than 1.9 million hours for North Carolina communities.

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