N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--September 1997


Butner - The new, 1,000 bed Polk Youth Institution was dedicated Aug. 6 after several decades of pushing for a new prison.

Secretary Jarvis talks with Polk Superintendent Currie
after prison's dedicaiton.
Talk of replacing Camp Polk started 30 years ago. As plans progressed, Polk Youth Centerís administration began asking potential new hires if they would be willing to relocate.

Despite community clamor to close what was considered an eyesore next to the stateís new art museum, it wasnít until 1993, when Gov. Jim Hunt called a special crime session, that the General Assembly appropriate money for the new Polk Youth Institution. Facility Maintenance manager, Mike Pierce, located the Granville County property after looking at Johnston County.

The new Polk Youth Institution will hold 1,079 inmates in both dormitories and single cells and will continue to serve as a processing center for youthful offenders.

Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis said the work for Polkís employees has just begun. "We canít turn these people out as bad as we received them. As taxpayers, we canít continue to build these mega-prisons. Itís just not fair to the state of North Carolina."

Jarvis said that having worked for the Department of Correction through five decades, he has witnessed a dramatic change. "I remember the dark cells and people talking about the ball and chain days. Weíve come a long way into a more reasonable, productive era."

Assistant prisons director, Patsy Woodlief, talked about the Supermax facility under construction at Polk. "This is a new concept in correctional design. It is a tribute to our goal to protecting the public, correctional employees and other inmates."

Secretary Jarvis flanked by Assistant Secretary Phillips, Deputy Director Woodlief, Deputy Secretary Beck and Superintendent Currie cut the ribbon as Asssistant Superintendent Lanier looks on.

Superintendent Currie said he and his staff have a tremendous challenge ahead of them, and that he has a group of dedicated and committed employees, a group that he sees as one of the best supporting staffs in the state.

Assistant superintendent, Virgil Lanier said the people of Granville County have made them feel very welcome.

About 300 people came to the dedication ceremonies which were held on a picture-perfect day. Tours of the prison and refreshments followed the ribbon-cutting.

NC DOC Correction News- September 1997
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