Blog: DPS Dispatch

Storm Response Series: While North Carolina braced for Hurricane Florence, numerous NC Public Safety agencies joined in the storm preparations, response and recovery. Today's blog provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the efforts of employees of the state prison system.      For the first time in state prison history, the mass evacuation that took place before Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina last month saw close to a tenth of the offender population moved from harm’s way.

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Storm Response Series: While North Carolina braced for Hurricane Florence, numerous NC Public Safety agencies joined in the storm preparations, response and recovery. Today's blog provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Community Correction Office's efforts.  PPO’s take on added duties to help North Carolinians during tragic times

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RALEIGH – What started as a pencil sketch several months ago by Assistant Director of Prisons Facilities Management Mike Hall was unveiled as a monument dedicated to remembering fallen staff Friday morning in front of the Randall Building in Raleigh.  The brick monument, complete with a bench, sculpture, a list of 13 fallen staff and inspirational verse, stands in front of the building on 831 W. Morgan St. The words “Duty, Sacrifice, Honor” are inscribed on the front facing, while the words “Never Forget” greet visitors who want to visit the back.

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Tougher consequences now await offenders in North Carolina’s prison system who assault staff members, as the Division of Prisons takes another step to provide the safest working and living environment for staff and offenders.  With security and safety in the state’s 55 prisons a top priority, effective immediately, Prisons has elevated the severity of consequences associated with staff assaults.

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Normally, a correctional officer focuses on performing duties that protect prison employees, the public, and even inmates when the situation arises. But there are situations that call on the officers to take the additional steps to save an inmate’s life. This year, correctional officers at Lumberton Correctional Institution and Caledonia Correctional Institution have had to take extra steps to prevent inmate deaths, but not for what you may normally think. 

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Jim Blackburn recalls compassionate PPOs as critical piece to his successful reentry When administrators, managers and staff members of NCDPS Community Corrections met in Raleigh for their annual managers’ meeting, they came prepared to work, strategize, and to hear Director Tracy Lee’s vision for making the department and its employees better. But day one of the interactive agenda faded to silence when the guest speaker of the day clipped the tiny microphone onto his jacket lapel.

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Leaders of the state’s 55 prisons repeatedly heard two consistent messages from senior management and presenters during their meetings in Raleigh on March 12-13: You are the messenger in your facilities, and it is essential to communicate and listen to your staff. “You run the facilities. You have the knowledge. That’s why you are there,” Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter told the group.

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On Feb. 7-9, Interim Chief Deputy Secretary Reuben Young and Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter resumed their visits to the state’s prisons by heading west. The road swing took them to Lincoln Correctional Center, Alexander Correctional Institution, Caldwell CC, Avery/Mitchell CI, Mountain View CI, Marion CI, Foothills CI and Burke CRV. As they did in their early January visit to prisons in northeastern North Carolina, Young and Lassiter met with the facilities’ senior management to learn about the facilities, hear updates about the various programs, concerns and what is working.

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Governor Roy Cooper is making good on his promise to make North Carolina safer by helping people leaving the state’s prisons become productive members of their communities. During the second meeting of the State Reentry Council Collaborative this week, Gov. Cooper unveiled the comprehensive action plan created by the Council to ensure the success of formerly incarcerated people after they’ve paid their debt to society and return to their communities.

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Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks and several senior staff are continuing to travel across the state to meet with correctional officers, medical personnel, maintenance staff and other employees who work in some of North Carolina’s 55 prisons. While the Secretary has visited prisons in Wake, Franklin, Nash and Granville counties in the last few months, he and some of his executive team are stepping up these tours with face to face meetings with employees primarily designed for them to share what’s on their mind.

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This June, 16 students from Bertie County Schools graduated from high school, and embarked on  the next leg of a journey that began 18 months ago when they applied to be a part of the inaugural Public Safety Cadet program – an innovative program that aims to help more young residents of Bertie County become employed in the criminal justice field. These students actually graduated twice: they also received a certificate for Corrections Specialist I and II from Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

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