More than 2,000 inmates are working today to clean up the debris left across eastern North Carolina by Hurricane Fran.

"We're working with Emergency Management and the Department of Transportation to get inmates where they're needed to clear downed trees and debris from neighborhoods and roadways," said Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "We're putting inmates to work to help clean up the widespread devastation Fran caused."

Inmates from New Hanover Correctional Center at Wilmington are working today at Carolina Beach and with Transportation road squads.

"Our staff has done a great job," said New Hanover Superintendent Larry Snead. "They've left their families and damaged homes detouring around fallen trees and power lines to come into work. Some have worked double and even triple shifts to make sure the prison operated safely."

The roof of the prison's two story building that houses inmates and has office space for prison staff was seriously damaged. The inmates were moved into the prison's other dormitories.

Inmates from Orange Correctional Center at Hillsborough have been clearing debris from the county's 911 emergency phone center.

"At 1:55 Friday morning, an oak tree four feet in diameter fell on the prison grounds," said Orange Assistant Superintendent Clinton Holt. "It fell on a cable. The cable was connected to the unit radio which was jerked across an office, pulling a sergeant's desk to the window." The officer was unhurt, but the radio was out of commission.

That prison was without power from 11:35 Thursday night until 1:50 Saturday afternoon and received drinking water Friday morning in a 550 gallon water buffalo.

Hurricane Fran left prisons facing many of the same difficulties as residents. At Duplin Correctional Center wind blew a trailer off its foundation and a tree limb onto another building. At Franklin Correctional Center, there's no electricity and no water.

"Just like everyone else, we need ice, water and bread," said Ron Inscoe, Division of Prisons Central Area deputy administrator. "Thanks to our staff, our prisons made it through the storm fine. Now we're concentrating on putting inmates to work to clear up the debris. There'll be plenty of work for them for the next few weeks."

In addition to the 2,000 inmates from community work squads and Transportation road squads working today, 400 inmates are ready for storm clean up work and another 450 could be provided once proper housing was arranged. Mobilizing inmate labor to clean up after Hurricane Bertha helped prepare prison managers for the bigger job of cleaning up after Fran.


Community Work Crews

Neuse Correctional Institution 5 Wayne County
Sanford Correctional Center 2 Johnston County
1 Harnett County
Robeson Correctional Center 2 Whiteville
Orange Correctional Center 1 Hillsborough
Bladen Youth Center 6 Bladen County
Sandhills Youth Center 2 Hoke County
Davidson Correctional Center 2 Orange County
Rutherford Correctional Center 2 Lake Lure
Carteret Correctional Center 5 Carteret County
Duplin correctional Center 4 Duplin County
Gates Correctional Center 1 Gates county
Goldsboro Correctional Center 1 Wayne County
Greene Correctional Center 9 Greene County
Nash Correctional Institution 2 Nash County
New Hanover Correctional Center 6 New Hanover County