DPS Dispatch

Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution licensed practical nurse Jane Smith was heading home from work on May 7 on U.S. 421 in Vilas like any other day when traffic came to a halt. “A lady was running up the road screaming and I asked if anyone was hurt,” said Smith, who will celebrate her twentieth year at the facility in January. 

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Everyone loves to eat. Now, as far as food preparation goes, that’s another story. Central Prison Food Service Manager Conell Chapman loves food. He loves to eat, and he loves the process of preparation. Chapman also loves imparting that wisdom to offenders and prison staff, not just at Central Prison in Raleigh but to other prisons, county jails and federal facilities in North Carolina, across the country and Canada.

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There’s a special kind of therapist making the rounds at Catawba Correctional Center. Her name is Lou Lou. “Good morning Lou Lou,” is echoed every day when folks encounter the friendly greeter. She’s not an official employee, but more like a volunteer who gets paid with an occasional dog treat or a pat on the head. Lou Lou is the facility mascot, a dog serving as a daily reminder of the value of the life and joy she brings as man’s best friend to many men and women inside the fence at Catawba.

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The walls are white, the counters are antiseptic and the recliners are set comfortably next to treatment stations. It looks like a typical medical outpatient clinic. But this dialysis unit sits on the other side of barbed wire and heavy, steel electronically-controlled locked doors. The waiting room is occupied by a uniformed officer. It’s in a prison. The long-planned new kidney dialysis unit at Scotland Correctional Institution opened today (April 29), and will be able to handle up to 72 male dialysis patients a week.

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On Feb. 21, Department of Public Safety leaders briefed legislators on ongoing efforts to reform the state’s prison system, stressing the safety of employees remains paramount. Much of the presentation by Tracy Little, deputy secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, to the Joint Legislative Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety focused on what is needed to make sure facilities are manned to safely supervise offenders and ensure the protection of prison staff. 

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Gary Mohr had high expectations prior to leading the two-day Prisons Leadership Development Workshop on Feb. 18-19. He knew he had an audience hungry to receive skills they could take back to their facilities, and he had the morsels to provide the nutritional needs. Following the workshop, Mohr was extremely happy not only with what he saw from the group but his vision of where the North Carolina prison system is heading.

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As part of prison reform efforts at DPS, the Office of Staff Development and Training has conducted situational awareness training for prisons’ personnel, including anyone who works in a prison environment such as Correction Enterprises’ employees. Situational awareness is described as a person’s state of knowledge or mental model of the situation around him or her, according to John Harrold and Theresa Jefferson’s “Shared Situational Awareness in Emergency Management Mitigation and Response.” 

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Whenever there are individuals or groups that need assistance, few rise to the occasion better than correctional officers. There are countless stories about their fundraising efforts to support Special Olympics of North Carolina, disaster victims or to show their love and concern during the holidays. They’re also quick to respond to helping each other during times of stress or need. Even during times where an officer doesn’t directly ask for assistance, word spreads throughout the facility and the other officers pool their resources to provide help.

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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 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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Millicent “Millie” Gordon has gone up yonder – gone home to be with the Lord. At a point many years ago when she sought to find purpose for her life, she was shown a pathway. Faith leading her every step, she found a true calling by sharing her musical gifts and caring about young men in the North Carolina correction system. It’s hard to put a number on just how many lives Mille Gordon affected, and equally as difficult to count the number of grandsons she claims throughout communities far and near.

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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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