Correction News

August 2000

Spotlight on: Foothills Correctional Institution

By Pamela Walker

MORGANTON- Nestled in the gorgeous foothills of Burke County is Foothills Correctional Institution. The close custody facility is located on 130 acres just south of Morganton. It was opened in May 1994 and houses as many as 712 inmates, mostly between the ages of 18 and 21.

The property on which Foothills sits, known locally as the Leonard farm, was donated for Department use by the Department of Agriculture in March 1991. The prison was originally designed as a 480-bed close custody adult male prison, but revisions in design increased capacity to 712 cells. In March 1994, it was designated to house male youth.

When you walk through the four buildings of Foothills, itís obvious Superintendent Toney Stamey and his staff run a tight ship. Two yellow lines are painted along the floors of many hallways and inmates are instructed to walk single-file on the sides of the lines closest to the walls; staff walk in the middle.

"Every day, I want to make sure our facility is a safe and secure environment for employees and inmates," said Supt. Stamey. "I also want the public to know while our inmates are dangerous and most have committed serious crimes or have behavioral problems, they can feel safe knowing that we have the highest security and the inmates do not leave outside our fences."

Supt. Stamey has been superintendent at Foothills for three years. He started with the Department nearly 29 years ago as an officer at the nearby Western Youth Institution.

Stamey is especially proud of the education programs at Foothills. Staff and Western Piedmont Community College teachers provide classes that help prepare inmates for the high school equivalency exam. They also offer some college level courses and computer science classes.

As for vocational programs, the facility houses a furniture upholstering shop where inmates are taught how to cut out cloth patterns and sew them onto frames of furniture. The furniture frames come from the community college and when they are upholstered they are sent back for public auction. They also have a carpenter shop where inmates learn basic carpentry skills.

Burke County public school teachers have also gotten involved with the facility through a program called "Leadership Burke." During the summer months, teachers tour Foothills, see how the prison system works and learn about the inmatesí daily routines. They also take part in panel discussions with inmates and ask them for advice on how to keep their students out of trouble.

Additionally, Foothills offers the DART, violent offender and character education programs. "Inmates gain a lot from these programs and we strive to help them make changes in their daily lives," said Supt. Stamey.

Supt Toney Stamey
Supt. Toney Stamey
Herb Meyers
Herb Myers
is assistant superintendent of programs. He oversees all academic, vocational, medical, dental and site services programs, as well as case management. Myers came to Foothills in 1994 from Rutherford Correctional Center where he was superintendent.
Sgt. Roger Moore and Lt. Bill Doak
Sgt. Roger Moose,
sitting, supervises operations staff, which includes security, food services and recreation areas. Lt. Bill Doak , standing, is the officer in charge of second shift. He does scheduling and oversees security on second shift.
Robert Starnes and Tasha Cannon
Correctional officers Robert Starnes, left, and Tasha Cannon on this day are processing visitors at the gatehouse and monitoring staff as they leave and enter the facility.
John Mercer, Lenora Carson and Mike Williams
In the control room, staff keeps a close eye on their unit, monitoring each inmate and officer. From left, Officer John Mercer, Officer Lanora Carson and Unit Manager Mike Williams.
Medical Staff
The medical staff is ready to serve 24 hours a day. From left, Sunny Vanderbloemen, medical records assistant; Jane Welch, staff nurse; Bob Donnelly, staff nurse; Nancy Austin, staff nurse; Anita Bradshaw, lead nurse; Julia Cook, practical nurse.
Admin Staff
From left, Mike Price, administrative officer; Malisa Coffey, processing assistant; Celeste Christy, office assistant IV; Brenda Howell, accounting technician; Teri Longo, administrative assistant; Ruthann Suttle, personnel technician; Janet Cook, office assistant; Ron Mace, assistant superintendent for custody; Jeanne Fowler, administrative secretary; Supt. Toney Stamey; Dan Wheeler, training specialist.
Buddy McKinney
Correctional Officer Buddy McKinney keeps 
a watchful eye of Foothills from the tower.

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