MARCH 27, 1996

ELIZABETH CITY - Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman and other dignitaries gathered Wed. to dedicate the new Pasquotank Correctional Institution which will house 1,146 inmates by the fall.

Pasquotank Correctional Institution consists of a 712-cell close custody prison and a 250-bed minimum custody prison. The prison has employed 400, mostly local, people.

In his remarks, Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman said, "Gov. Jim Hunt was serious about putting criminals behind bars longer. Paroles dropped 41% last year thanks mostly to new prisons such as Pasquotank Correctional Institution opening."

Funding for Pasquotank Correctional Institution was authorized by the General Assembly during the 1991 legislative session using the first portion of $200 million bond money approved by voters in a 1990 referendum. Legislators in 1995 approved double-celling of inmates for 232 cells of the Pasquotank prison. Following the anticipated July funding of 50 additional correctional officer positions, two inmates will share an 8X10-foot cell in the areas designated for double-celling. Double celling will increase Pasquotank's prison capacity to 1,146 inmates.

Prison industry jobs inside the prison are being developed and include a data entry and microfilm plant and an operation to make modular work stations. Ten to 15 acres of land will be set aside for inmates to farm fruits and vegetables to be used in the Pasquotank kitchen. Community work crews from the minimum custody prison are already working for local governments doing undesirable, labor-intensive jobs such as clearing tires from a dump site in Moyock.

Pasquotank Correctional Institution, surrounded by an electronic surveillance fence, is located on 96 acres of land.