WECT Investigates: Fast food delivered to inmates

WECT cameras were rolling outside the Whiteville KFC Aug. 25 as prison employees loaded big boxes of chicken meals into an unmarked cargo van with state tags.
WECT cameras were rolling outside the Whiteville KFC Aug. 25 as prison employees loaded big boxes of chicken meals into an unmarked cargo van with state tags.
Activities of the men’s club at Tabor Correctional Institution (TCI) in Columbus County were suspended after WECT asked about opportunities for inmates to buy fast food.
Activities of the men’s club at Tabor Correctional Institution (TCI) in Columbus County were suspended after WECT asked about opportunities for inmates to buy fast food.

TABOR CITY, NC (WECT) - The director of the state prison system suspended the activities of a men's club at Tabor Correctional Institution (TCI) in Columbus County after WECT learned prison employees delivered Kentucky Fried Chicken meals to inmates on three occasions last month.

WECT cameras were rolling outside the Whiteville KFC Aug. 25 as prison employees loaded large boxes of chicken meals into an unmarked cargo van with state tags.

For $7, inmates who were members of the club could pre-order six-piece chicken tender meals that included potato wedges, a biscuit and BBQ sauce, according to an internal prison e-mail sent from Robert Clatty, correctional program supervisor at TCI.

Keith Acree, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Corrections, said many of the state's prisons have similar clubs, modeled after service organizations like Rotary or Kiwanis.

"The Division of Prisons is surveying the activities of all service clubs across the prison system and developing more specific governing policies for these clubs to ensure that they are operating consistently and are providing true rehabilitative benefits," Acree said.

He explained that inmates must be in the regular prison population and have good disciplinary records to participate.

Acree stressed inmates used their own money to buy the KFC meals and that no state funds were involved.

In addition to food sales, the club also raises money by selling family photos on visitation days, with funds going to "support the morale of fellow inmates through refreshments at holidays and at academic and vocational graduation events."

Acree said the club also plans to contribute to local charitable organizations.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.