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Inmate Construction Program

green hard hat
Jorneyman's patch

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 200 inmates are enrolled in the program, allowing them to participate in an apprenticeships certified by the NC Department of Labor. Inmates work toward journeyman's certificates in various construction trades.  Many graduates of the Inmate Construction Program are successfully employed in the construction industry. A few have started their own contracting businesses after their release.

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.

Since 1993, the Inmate Construction Program has completed many projects for the Department of Correction, the Division of Prisons and Correction Enterprises including the following:

Dan River Prison Work Farm - Main dormitory
Tyrrell Prison Work Farm - Main dormitory
Apex Staff Training Center and Warehouse
208-bed dorm at NC Correctional Institution for Women
Columbus Tailoring Plant - Correction Enterprises
Additions to Warren Correctional Institution
Warren Janitorial Products Plant

Warren Correctional Institution
Warren Correctional Institution expansion
(Completed 2004)
Apex Training Center
Apex Staff Training Center
(Completed 2000)
Dorm at NCCIW
208-bed dorm at North Carolina
Correctional Institution for Women (Completed 2001)
Dan River dorm
Dormitory construction at
Dan River Prison Work Farm
(Completed 1996)
Inmates working on Women's Prison dorm project