Corruption Rampant In ‘Every Prison’ In North Carolina, Report Says

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Nearly 500 North Carolina prison employees have been either fired for misconduct or charged with criminal offenses like smuggling drugs, weapons, and cellphones inside prisons since 2012, the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

The Observer’s research is extensive and damning, covering everything from the state’s hiring of corrections officers with violent criminal histories to counselors and officers carrying on long-term sexual affairs with inmates. Former prison officers and inmates say the prevalence of corruption is largely due to the state under vetting and underpaying employees.

The state’s new prison leaders vow to change those problems. George Solomon, the state’s recently retired director of prisons, is under no illusions about the grim situation he has left for his successor, Kenneth Lassiter.

“Do I think I have corrupt staff in every prison, in every (maximum-security) prison?” Solomon told the Observer. “I would be naive to say I didn’t.”

Phillip Boney, who served as a prison officer from 2006 to 2015, wrote four letters in 2013 to state prison leaders explaining the issues and requesting action. He wrote that while a minority of the state’s 8,000 prison employees were corrupt, their actions endangered colleagues and cost taxpayers money.

“About 90 percent of the staff … are praying for the day these dirty staff members are walked out,” he wrote.

He alleged that his co-workers sold drugs, cellphones, and even weapons to inmates. He also claimed they helped orchestrate attacks on inmates and one prison leader even promoted corrupt employees.

North Carolina prisons don’t pat down prison guards when they go on duty, making it remarkably easy for some to smuggle in contraband. One former inmate, Troy Person, told the Observer that he repeatedly bought liquor, cellphones, marijuana, and other contraband from two officers and then resold it to other inmates.

“Them officers are broke,” Person said. “That’s why there are so many cellphones in prison.”

North Carolina pays its prison officers far less than the $47,000 national average with yearly salaries between $32,000 – $35,000. The entertainment scarcity in prisons allows officers to charge hugely inflated prices for what they smuggle — a monetary temptation that some find irresistible.

“It’s sad to say, a lot of times I would trust gang members before I would trust my co-workers,” Chesenna Ray, a former officer told the Observer. “There’s so much corruption. Nobody knows who to trust.”

Erik Hooks, the state’s new public safety secretary has plans for reform, however, and raising pay for officers and introducing effective background checks before making new hires is the first step.

Since his own appointment in January, Hooks has appointed Lassiter as the new director of prisons and replaced three other prison administrators, but state leaders weren’t always so open to reform. Prison leaders fired Boney for insubordination in 2015 after he sent his four letters.

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  • Dan Smith

    Corruption is in every prison…

    Always be a light that is shininginthedark

  • NonYo Business

    Lets take all our criminals and ship them off to Australia like the Brit’s did. Can’t hurt.

    • Brendatchandler

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !du321c:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
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    • Matrixixixix

      That plan wasn’t too well thought out by the Brits though. The sent their crims to a warm, sunny, under-populated island with the best beaches in the world while they kept the cold, grey, over populated dank one. Now the have to pay thousands for a week in their paradise penal colony.

    • David E

      Well you know they also shipped them to Georgia.

  • Shocking.

  • Matrixixixix

    Yes, be afraid, be VERY afraid. It helps keep the population down. And the snakes are actually venomous, not poisonous.
    Despite the list of scary creatures you listed the most threatening one remains the two legged variety, particularly the suited ones which seem to be the problem everywhere these days.

  • phicrappazappa

    Being a North Carolinian, and having had a relative that has worked numerous prisons as a guard, I find this article hard to believe but somewhat refreshing to see that American entrepreneurial spirit. That relative of mine is dumber than a sack of rocks.

  • I also believe the North Carolina Department of Banking is Corrupt as they continue to allow BB&T bank to steal from it’s clients any way they choose. They have a fee for everything!

  • gato felix

    Give prison inmates jobs that way at least there won’t be the “shock” factor involved!!