North Carolina Department of Correction news release

May 21, 1997

Sparta - Thanks to Gov. Jim Hunt's push to build more prisons and keep dangerous criminals behind bars longer, the Department of Correction now has space for the 45 state prisoners housed in the Alleghany County jail since June 1995.

Because of the massive prison construction program which adds 15,000 new beds to the state prison system, the Department of Correction will not need to renew its contract with Alleghany when the agreement expires June 30. Contracts in four other counties will end as well.

Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis thanked Alleghany County for its contribution in helping the state keep violent criminals behind bars longer. "These leased jail spaces helped bridge the time it took to build new prisons, and we are grateful for Alleghany County's assistance," said Jarvis. "Alleghany County helped the state get our prison system back on sound footing while meeting the governor's mandate to protect the public from dangerous criminals."

In 1993, Gov. Jim Hunt directed the department to find more prison space to stop the revolving prison door and put inmates to work. Leasing space in county jails was one of the several efforts to find additional space. Thanks to the rented jail space, prison construction, tougher sentencing laws and lifting the prison cap, violent offenders are serving more time behind bars. In 1995, paroles dropped 41 percent and last year the overall crime rate dropped seven percent.

In addition to Alleghany, contracts will end in Cumberland, Duplin and Wilson counties the end of June. Wilson County will continue to house 40 medium security state prisoners. A contract with Person County will end August 31.

This year, prisons opened in Vanceboro, Yanceyville and Hyde County and dedication ceremonies for prisons in Granville, Warren and Davidson counties are scheduled for June, enabling the state to keep dangerous criminals behind bars longer.