North Carolina Department of Correction
HYDE CORRECTIONAL CENTER DEDICATION - MAY 2, 1997
Our thanks to Governor Jim Hunt, Senator Marc Basnight, county commissioners and other officials who helped locate this new prison in a county teeming with wildlife and rich in history. Fortunately, according to 16 environmental assessments, this prison will not have any significant impact on the natural environment, while making a huge impact on the local economy. We want to be good neighbors to the citizens of Hyde County as well as to the bears, red wolves, bald eagles and swans.
Hyde Correctional Center will become home to 500 men in need of learning how to be a good neighbor. We dedicate this prison today to help stop crime and root out prisoners' criminal behavior.
The North Carolina Department of Correction is doing its part in fulfilling the vision and promises of Governor Hunt to the citizens of North Carolina, citizens who were crying out to stop the revolving prison door. Dedicating Hyde Correctional Center today is one more successful effort to help slam that door shut.
This prison would not be here were it not for Governor Jim Hunt's leadership. In 1994, Gov. Hunt called for a special session of the legislature to address crime issues. He pushed for tougher sentences for violent criminals and to make inmates work. As a result, paroles have dropped 54%, and more than 19,000 inmates are working or training for jobs.
Under the new Structured Sentencing Act, violent offenders are serving more time with no parole while non-violent offenders are sent to community punishment programs where they can get the help they need, work to pay restitution to their victims and work for the community.
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.
More than 80% of state prisoners test below a 12th grade education; 56% are below an 8th grade level. No one can dispute that education, whether it be inside or outside the prison gates, is a critical factor in living a crime-free life. Here in Hyde County, students at Ocracoke High School will have a chance at a better education following the $7 million in grants given to the county for school renovations and new studies.
Governor Hunt's Smart Start program will go a long way towards getting children squared away with a solid foundation. New research shows that 85% of a child's brain development happens in the first three years. Smart Start ensures that ALL families can find good, affordable day care and preventive health care so children can start school healthy and ready to learn. That's why the governor wants Smart Start in every county by the year 2000. He's also pushing the legislature to pass the Excellent Schools Act where teachers' salaries would increase along with accountability. Classrooms would be smaller and safer. He needs our help to make sure both of these important measures are passed and fully funded.
Governor Hunt wants each North Carolina citizen to be the best he or she can be, and that includes prisoners. That's why we will begin teaching character education to our youthful offenders. We are the first in the country to take this bold step. Our primary charge is to protect our citizens from violent criminals, and second, to build character and morals in the offender population.
Governor Jim Hunt has done more for this state than any other governor in the state's history. We welcome his latest push on education. We need it for all of our children to be the best citizens for our great state. As it says in Proverbs, "Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it." (Prov. 16:22).
Photo scrapbook of ceremonies
NC DOC News
NC DOC WEB Index
E-mail NC DOC