New correctional facility in Tabor city

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email

Posted by Debra Worley - email

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A new state prison is officially open in Tabor City.

Monday, area leaders and dignitaries met for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new all male Tabor Correctional Institution located on Highway 904.

The facility will begin housing inmates in September in efforts to ease overcrowding in county jails.

"Right now we have over 300 inmates in county jails. If we didn't have this prison those numbers would just get larger and larger. A lot of county jails are full so this is timely to have this prison on board," said prison director Boyd Bennett.

The facility has the same layout as five other state prisons, but this one will eventually house more than 1,700 inmates.

The facility is comprised of single cells and divided into cellblocks.  It is organized into four units under a correction unit management system.

Two units will house medium custody inmates, and a third will house segregation inmates on one level and regular population inmates on another.

A control unit will house inmates on maximum control and intensive control status.  Cell doors are remotely controlled from secure control stations.

The perimeter barrier is designed with a double electronic fence.

Inmate movement is restricted and supervised by correctional staff.  Inmates are allowed out of their cells to work or attend corrective programs inside the facility.

Officials said one of their main priorities is to ensure inmates will be punished and also learn something.

They plan to help prisoners learn by providing them with opportunities to work and even get their GED's, but officials say they can't do all the work.

"We can give the inmate the tools or the opportunities for the tools that he needs to be a productive and law abiding citizen, but in the end of the day that comes from inside of him and he has to take the tools and put them to work," said correctional administrator George Kenworthy.

According to experts, the local economy will benefit because the institution will provide more than 500 jobs to the area.