Secretary Freeman Speaks at Prison Dedication

Vanceboro, NC
October 6, 1996

Craven Correctional Institution will come to mean many things to many different people. To the community, this new prison brings economic prosperity. To the Department of Correction, the institution brings relief to a bulging prison system. Most importantly, to the criminal, this prison brings not a threat, but the reality of being taken off the streets to serve a full sentence.
Secretary Freeman and Gov. Hunt arrive at Craven Correctional Institution for dedication.

Citizens of this state cried out for an end to the revolving prison door. The legislature responded by enacting sweeping sentencing reforms known as Truth-In-Sentencing. But, in order for Truth-In-Sentencing to work, Gov. Jim Hunt called for the authorization to build new prisons. Legislators such as Senator Beverly Perdue and Representatives Zeno Edwards, William Wainwright and John Nichols supported the Governor's efforts to build more prisons, as well as lifting the prison cap and making dangerous criminals serve more time.

Since Gov. Hunt took office in 1993, nearly 10,000 new beds have been added to the prison system. Craven Correctional Institution makes a significant contribution with its space for lawbreakers.

Prisons may be the most expedient way to stop crime. And as Cardinal Gibbons said at the turn of the century, "Reform must come from within, not from without. You cannot legislate virtue." Here amidst the 725 square miles of Craven County, sites a prison which within its gates will provide tools to help build character and transform the angry miscreant. Correction employees have proven to be up to this great challenge to protect society from dangerous criminals while encouraging construction behavior. Craven Correctional institution will be no different.

Employees in this department have proven to be greatly dedicated to their jobs. During Hurricane Fran, the state's eastern prisons operated smoothly, with officers often leaving their damaged homes to report to work.

Lord William Craven, one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina for whom the county is named, worked hard himself to attain the best for his territory. Craven County is an unspoiled, beautiful agricultural county. Economic benefits and being an environmentally clean industry are two major assets of siting this prison here in Vanceboro. The location is a good one for the Department of correction and we are most appreciative of the city and county leaders and the community for welcoming us here. The opening of this new institution will touch many lives and we hope every experience will be for the good of all mankind.