James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Theodis Beck, Secretary
Tracy Little, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926


July 31, 2000

Sewing PhotoSewing Plant Begins Operations in Whiteville

WHITEVILLE -- Operations began July 19 at Correction Enterprisesí newest clothing production facility.

Under the supervision of Correction Enterprises staff, male inmates from Columbus Correctional Institution work at the plant, which is located within the prison unit. Eight former private sector sewing workers from Columbus County will be hired to supervise plant operations and others may be hired later as the plant moves to full production capability.

Eventually, the plant will produce a daily average of 400 to 450 shirts, 250 to 300-dozen boxer shorts, and 250 safety vests as well as other products as needed. State agencies that will use the clothing include the Department of Transportation, Department of Correction and the Division of Forest Resources.

Initially, 12 to 20 medium-custody inmates will be working at the plant. Each week, an additional eight to 10 inmates will be added to the plantís workforce with 115 inmates expected to be working at the facility by October. A sewing class offered by Southeastern Community College will occupy a portion of the building until January, when a free-standing modular classroom will be located on site. Each class will include 15 to 20 students who will attend a four-week sewing class. Upon completion of the class, the inmates will be assigned to the plant.

This is Correction Enterprises' first sewing plant that was planned and built specifically for the purpose of training inmates in the sewing trade. Inmate labor from Columbus Correctional Institution was used extensively in the construction of the facility.

Inmates at the sewing plant are paid 13 cents to 26 cents per hour plus bonuses for production and quality. They can earn up to $3 per day.

The plant replaces sewing operations at DOC's Lincolnton facility. The Columbus site is approximately 16,000 square feet and allows for expansion of plant operations.

The North Carolina General Assembly established Correction Enterprises as a self-sustaining industrial program, which uses inmate labor to produce products and services for sale to tax-supported agencies. North Carolina's Correction Enterprises was the nation's third largest in sales during 1998, and fiscal year 1999 sales were more than $74 million. Correction Enterprises returns five percent of its net profits to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and pays the incentive wages for all inmate jobs in North Carolina prisons and industrial expansion costs.

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