Hurricane Bertha Relief Effort

Inmates Assisting In The Recovery From Hurricane Bertha

JULY 19, 1996

RALEIGH -- More prisoner work crews are in eastern North Carolina today providing help to communities and farms damaged by hurricane Bertha one week ago.

Prison managers have 39 crews of inmates working in Bertie, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Onslow and Wayne counties today helping farmers shore up tobacco knocked down by storm winds. The inmates are working field to field and farm to farm to upright each plant.

"We're putting these inmates to work in the fields to help farmers and to protect our state's agricultural economy," said Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "There's only a short time to rescue these crops so we'll have correctional officers and inmates working this weekend."

More prisoner work crews are being shifted to farm assistance. Crews are expected to be added in Greene, Lenoir, Nash and Pitt counties tomorrow. County agricultural extension offices are selecting the farms.

Gov. Jim Hunt directed the Department of Correction to provide assistance to the farmers. More than a dozen eastern North Carolina counties reported losses of about 80 percent to their tobacco and corn crop. Total agricultural damage is estimated at nearly $200 million. Though inmate work is normally restricted to public projects, the state of emergency allows the inmates to work on the farms.

Another 37 prisoner work crews continue to help communities clean up trash and debris. Inmates from 16 minimum security prisons and the IMPACT boot camp are working at 22 sites today.

Crews worked in Brunswick, Carteret, Duplin, Greene, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties. There were 70 inmates working in Pender County 50, in Carteret County and 50 in or near Wilmington.

Correctional officers supervise the prisoner work crews. The squads are part of the community work program which puts inmates to work in short term, manual labor projects for local governments at no cost.


Bertie -- 80 80
Craven -- 50 50
Duplin 50 20 80
Greene -- -- 70
Jones 100 40 70
Lenoir -- -- 80
Nash -- -- 90
Onslow 100 100 80
Pitt -- -- 10
Wayne -- 100 100
TOTAL 250 390 estimated 710

JULY 17, 1996

Hubert - Gov. Jim Hunt today directed the Department of Correction to send state prisoners to Onslow County to help farmers with crops severely damage by Hurricane Bertha.

Correctional officers are supervising 10 crews totaling 100 minimum custody inmates at five Onslow Country farms that were selected by the Onslow County Agricultural Extension Office. Three of the prisoner crews are from Carteret Correctional Center, two from Duplin and five from New Hanover. Though inmate work is normally restricted to public projects, the state of emergency allows the inmates to work on the farms.

Onslow was one of more than a dozen eastern counties which reported tobacco and corn losses of about 80 percent. To date, total agriculture damage due to Bertha has been estimated at nearly $200 million.

"These farmers face severe losses if they can't save their crops and we're doing everything we can to help them," Gov. Hunt said.

Hunt has asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman for immediate assistance for North Carolina farmers whose crops were damaged and destroyed by the storm.

The inmates working on the farms increased the number of prisoner work crews sent to southeast North Carolina communities that needed help. There were 637 inmates from 17 prisons working in Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties today. There were 589 inmates working yesterday.

More than 400 inmates worked throughout the weekend to clear storm damage in coastal counties. Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman has authorized the crews to work 12-hour days.

"We want to do everything we can to help," Freeman said. "Our prison managers have been working round the clock to organize this assistance and to make sure help goes where it's needed. And the inmate workers have been doing a good job."

JULY 15, 1996

Topsail Island - Governor Jim Hunt today directed that state prisoners be sent to Topsail Island Tuesday to help clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Bertha. In addition to the 84 inmates being sent to Topsail Island, 140 inmates are going to work in Surf City, 70 in emerald Isle and 14 in Atlantic Beach.

Twenty-six inmates from the earn bootcamp in Hoffman arrived today in Swansboro, with an additional 70 trainees from the camp on their way. They will be housed at the Swansboro 4-H Camp which will be used as a bivouac throughout the week.

More than 400 inmates worked throughout the weekend to clear storm damage in New Hanover, Pamlico, Duplin, Jones, Onslow and Greene counties. Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman authorized the crews to work 12-hour days.

"Inmates will continue clearing storm damage as long as necessary," Freeman said.


July 13, 1996

RALEIGH -- the North Carolina Department of Correction has worked with the State Emergency Response Center to provide inmate labor to counties needing assistance to clean up debris left in the wake of hurricane Bertha.

As Gov. Jim Hunt promised yesterday, prison officials have begun working through the Emergency Response Center to provide squads of inmates form minimum security prisons in eastern North Carolina. Inmate crews supervised by correction staff worked in Duplin, Greene, New Hanover and Pamlico counties today and are expected to return tomorrow. The work squads are scheduled to assist in clean up efforts in Jones County beginning Monday.

New Hanover Carteret CC 5 squads to work Saturday
New Hanover CC
Pamlico Carteret CC 1 squad to work Saturday and more if needed
Jones Carteret CC 6 squads to work Monday
New Hanover Bladen YC 5 squads
Robeson CC 2 squads
Neuse CI 3 squads
Greene Greene CC 9 squads working with DOT staff