North Carolina Department of Correction news release

Prisoners renovate space at Wayne Correctional Center for medical services

FEBRUARY 12, 1999

Goldsboro - The old kitchen is now the new medical services area at Wayne Correctional Center thanks to the work of prisoners and staff.

"We had to tear out walls, reframe it, put in sheet rock and rework the electrical and HVAC for the area," said John Vandiford, the maintenance director at the medium security prison in Goldsboro. "Ninety percent of the work on this project has been done with the labor of eight inmates. They’ve done the carpentry, plumbing, electrical and heating and air conditioning."

The prison’s facility was originally part of neighboring Cherry Hospital. It was renovated and turned into a prison in 1979. Over the years and with expansion, the old kitchen was converted into classroom space and the prison outgrew the small upstairs medical area.

When Carla O’Konek was named Wayne’s superintendent last year, she began looking for ways to improve the medical space and move it downstairs.

John Vandiford and Carla O'Konek stand in front
of newly framed medical services space

"I saw how difficult it was for inmates who had any kind of ambulatory problems at all to manipulate those steps," O’Konek said. "I saw emergency injuries trying to get up and down the steps and that just really scared me. Not just because the inmates were having problems, but because of the liability that we were looking at if they should get hurt."

After talking to the medical staff, O’Konek did a rough drawing of what they wanted. An inmate drafted the plans. Prison facility services approved the proposal that includes two exam rooms, pharmacy, lab, office space and toilet facilities. Work began the first week of January.

The prison’s nurses are excited about having the space they need to do their jobs. They say the renovated space will provide a clinic setting and allow them to be more effective and efficient.

When the medical services space is completed, the upstairs offices will be used by the Drug Alcohol and Recovery Treatment program, or DART. The DART program offers a five-week term of intensive treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in an independent residential setting. DART began at Wayne and now operates at 15 prisons across the state.

NC DOC Homepage
E-mail NC DOC