WECT INVESTIGATES: Prison fast food deliveries resume with new rules

WECT INVESTIGATES: Prison fast food deliveries resume with new rules
Jose Reyes Bolanos is being held under no bond in the Columbus County Detention Center after being arrested for an attempted rape Friday evening. (Source: Raycom Media)

TABOR CITY, NC (WECT) - The time-honored tradition of snack food for your Super Bowl party continued last month for many of us, with various appetizers, wings and even an adult beverage or two.

For some prisoners at Tabor Correctional Institution (TCI), pizza from the local Papa John's was on the menu this year.

Keith Acree, a spokesperson for the state prison system, confirmed that fast food deliveries have resumed at the prison for the first time since a WECT investigation in September 2014.

About a year and a half ago, a WECT reporter gathered video of prison employees loading large boxes of chicken meals from a Kentucky Fried Chicken into an unmarked state cargo van to deliver to TCI. Inmates who took part in a men's club in the prison were allowed to spend $7 for a six-piece chicken meal with potato wedges, a biscuit and BBQ sauce, according to documents obtained by our reporter. The food deliveries took place three times within a one month span during the original investigation.

The spokesperson explained at the time that the men's club was modeled after similar service organizations in the community and only prisoners with good disciplinary records would be allowed to participate. The money for the food came from the prisoners and no state funds were involved. However, the director of the state prison system suspended the activities of the club after our inquiry.

Acree said a new policy took effect in February 2015 for the service club that required at least 50% of all fund raising profits from activities to be donated to local charities.

The TCI Service Club plans to make $7,000 in contributions from the pizza sale and other fundraisers, including an inmate photo sale and others conducted before the prison suspended the club in 2014. The pizza sale resulted in $250 profit.

The donations include:

$2,500 - Boys & Girls Home of Lake Waccamaw

$1,125 - Columbus County Families First Inc.

$1,125 - Coming Together Inc. of Columbus County

$1,125 - Columbus County Partnership for Children

$1,125 – Columbus County Special Olympics

The food sales will continue with one every few months going forward.

Acree said the goal of the clubs inside prison is to encourage inmates to make positive contributions within the prison population and the local community.

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