North Carolina Department of Correction
Gov. Jim Hunt and Secretary Mack Jarvis dedicate the state's newest prison
MAY 2, 1997
Swan Quarter - A mile from the shores of Lake Mattamuskeet, Gov. Jim Hunt and Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis dedicated the state's newest prison, Hyde Correctional Center on Friday. The prison adds 528 beds to the thousands built during the past few years.
Located eight miles north of Swan Quarter, Hyde Correctional Center is a medium-custody prison with three dormitories housing 176 inmates each. The prison employs 227 people with an annual payroll of $6.6 million dollars.
In 1993, during the special crime session called by Gov. Hunt, the General Assembly approved the spending of $87.5 million in prison bond money. The funding for Hyde Correctional Center came from that allocation. Since that time, more than 8,200 new prison beds have been built or funded.
"When I took office in 1983, the public was clamoring to shut the revolving prison door, to make violent criminals serve longer sentences and to put inmates to work," Gov. Hunt said. "The good news, folks, is that with a lot of hard work, building new prisons such as Hyde Correctional Center, we have slammed that door shut."
"Now that the Department of Correction has taken control of the prison system, and the crime rate is down, Gov. Hunt has turned his focus on education," Secty. Jarvis said. "No one can dispute that education, whether it be inside or outside the prison gates, is a critical factor in leading a crime-free life."
More than 80% of state prisoners test below a 12th grade education, 56% below 8th grade. Beaufort County Community College will provide classes to help inmates earn their high school equivalency degrees, and teach welding, drafting and electrical wiring.
Inmates will work as well. The Dept. of Transportation will supervise four prison road squads. A minimum security crew will work in the community, painting, picking up trash, and other jobs. Some inmates will be growing fresh vegetables for the prison on 35-acres.
The land Hyde Correctional Center sits on used to be a corn field. Sixteen environmental assessments were done on the land and each one determined that the prison would have no significant impact on the environment.
"We want to be good neighbors to the citizens of Hyde County as well as to the bears, red wolves, bald eagles and swans whose homes have been here longer than any of us," Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis said.
The $18.8 million prison will have an operating cost of $9.6 million per year, with an estimated $791,000 in local purchases for food, maintenance and medical services. A majority of the employees have been hired from Hyde County, and a third of the correctional officers hired are women.
"That is tremendous progress in what used to be a male-dominated field," Gov. Jim Hunt said. "I commend the department for all its efforts. We have doubled the bed space, ended parole, and put inmates to work. We need to get the bad guys off the street and salvage those who are salvageable."
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