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Michael F. Easley
Governor

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Theodis Beck
Secretary

North Carolina Department of Correction


For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Keith Acree
Date: October 2, 2002 Phone: (919) 716-3727

Henderson and Blue Ridge correctional centers to close

RALEIGH - In the ratified version of the 2002-2003 state budget, the N.C. General Assembly has instructed the Department of Correction to close two prisons in Henderson and Avery counties.

Operations at Blue Ridge Correctional Center in Newland were suspended July 31 in order to reduce expenditures pending the passage of the state budget. Its employees were reassigned to other prison facilities and inmates were transferred to other prisons. The department will complete closing procedures at Blue Ridge this month.

Henderson Correctional Center in Hendersonville will close by November 10. The inmates assigned to the prison unit are being transferred to various prison facilities across the state.

"As it has done in the past, the Department will make every effort to find suitable positions for the employees affected by prison closings," said Secretary Theodis Beck.

Both prisons are minimum-custody units housing male inmates. Henderson Correctional Center opened in the 1930s and was recommended for closure by the Governmental Performance Audit Committee in 1992 to improve the efficient allocation of correctional resources. It has a capacity of 114 inmates.

Blue Ridge Correctional Center has a capacity of 72 inmates. It opened in 1990 and was home to the BRIDGE program, a cooperative effort between the N.C. Forest Service and the Department of Correction to train and use inmates in forest conservation and fire fighting work. The BRIDGE program will continue at Western Youth Institution in Morganton.

Note: More information about thsee prisons is available at http://www.doc.state.nc.us/dop/list/county.htm

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