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Beverly Eaves Perdue

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Alvin W. Keller Jr.

North Carolina Department of Correction

For Release: Contact: Keith Acree
Date: Jan. 5, 2011 Phone: 919 -716-3700

Inmate labor builds new prison additions at greatly reduced cost
First project complete, 2700 new prison beds coming by 2012  

RALEIGH – The first of seven construction projects that will add more than 2,700 beds to the state prison system by 2012 is complete, built by inmates working in the state’s Inmate Construction Program.  The use of inmate labor on these projects is saving the state almost $27 million in construction costs. 

Inmates working in the state’s Inmate Construction Program, which currently employs and trains more than 590 inmates across the state, are building additions to six 1,000-bed prisons that opened between 2003 and 2008.  The first completed project is a 504-bed dormitory addition at Scotland Correctional Institution designed to house medium-custody inmates.  Occupancy is planned for later this month. 

Inmates are building identical medium-custody dorms at three other prison locations as well as two
252-bed minimum-custody units.  Another minimum-custody unit is being built by a private contractor.  

The projects with their estimated completion dates are:

Scotland Correctional Institution - Laurinburg

504-bed medium


Scotland Correctional Institution – Laurinburg

252-bed minimum

January 2011

Alexander Correctional Institution – Taylorsville

252-bed minimum

February 2011

Bertie Correctional Institution – Windsor

504-bed medium

October 2011

Lanesboro Correctional Institution – Polkton

504-bed medium

April 2012

Maury Correctional Institution – Maury

504-bed medium

June 2012

Tabor Correctional Institution – Tabor City

252-bed minimum

December 2012

Beginning in 2007, the legislature authorized $93.6 million for the construction of six new prison dormitory projects.  By the end of 2012, seven dormitory projects will have been built for a cost of $82.7 million.  The seventh project, a $16 million dorm addition at Maury Correctional Institution, was possible without any additional legislative funding through savings achieved on the first six projects by using inmate labor and from reduced construction costs due to the economic recession.   Without the use of inmate labor, the estimated cost to build these facilities would have been $109.6 million – a savings of $26.9 million.                  

About the Inmate Construction Program (ICP)

North Carolina has a long history of inmates working on public construction projects.  In 1870, inmates began construction of the State Penitentiary in Raleigh. The castle-like structure, which later became known as Central Prison, was completed in December 1884. 

Working under the direction of the penitentiary warden, Col. William J. Hicks, inmates completed the state's third governor's residence in 1891. The Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh is still home to North Carolina's governor and remains one of the state's finest examples of the Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s inmate labor helped build North Carolina railroads and highways, leading to the state's nickname as the "Good Roads State."

Today's modern Inmate Construction Program began in 1993 and follows this proud tradition of putting inmates to work, teaching valuable skills and saving the state millions of dollars.

About 130 of the almost 600 inmates working and learning in the program, are participating in apprenticeships certified by the N.C. Department of Labor. These inmates work toward journeyman's certificates in various construction trades. 

Inmates involved in the apprenticeship program spend 480 hours in classroom learning and complete more than 6,000 hours of on-the-job training before they receive their journeyman's certification.  Some inmates have earned journeyman's certification in two or more trades.   More information on the Inmate Construction Program is available online at

North Carolina Department of Correction
Public Information Office     4202 Mail Service Center     Raleigh NC 27699-4202
Phone (919) 716-3700      Fax: (919) 716-3795

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