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  • mcprison mcprison Mar 13, 2001 1:03 PM Flag

    WHC facility in NC ready to open

    The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

    March 9, 2001 Friday North Carolina Edition

    SECTION: LOCAL, Pg. B1

    LENGTH: 445 words

    HEADLINE: HERTFORD PRISON READY FOR INMATES
    PRIVATE FACILITY OFFERS WORK FOR ABOUT 300

    BYLINE: JEFFREY S. HAMPTON, THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

    DATELINE: WINTON

    BODY:

    The only privately run federal prison in North Carolina is ready for
    inmates,
    offering 300 jobs to industry-hungry Hertford County.

    Under contract to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Wackenhut
    Corrections will
    operate Rivers Correctional Institution, a $63 million facility on 257
    acres
    just west of Winton. The prison will house 1,200 low-security male
    inmates,
    1,000 less than what was originally planned three years ago, when the
    project
    was first proposed to Hertford County officials. Prisoners will arrive
    within
    the next 30 days, said Margaret Pearson, spokeswoman for Wackenhut at
    its
    Florida headquarters.

    Calvin R. Edwards, a 23-year veteran with the Bureau of Prisons,
    will serve
    as warden. An open house will be held Sunday.

    Prisons run by private companies have come under fire since the
    trend began
    nearly 20 years ago. Critics say profits override prison security as
    companies
    cut back on staff and safety measures. Bills have been submitted in
    Congress
    that would prohibit the government from contracting prisons to private
    companies. Opposition groups have distributed reports of riots in and
    escapes
    from private prisons.

    "The people who were opposed remain opposed," said Dr. David Faber,
    part of
    a group of residents who opposed the Hertford County Wackenhut prison.
    "We're
    hoping and praying things work out the way they say they will."

    Supporters say private prisons cost less to build and operate and
    have
    security records that match government-run facilities. Most locals
    welcome the
    jobs after the loss of 300 jobs from layoffs at the EASCO Aluminum in
    Winton in
    January, said Hertford County manager Don Craft.

    In October, the North Carolina Department of Corrections took over
    two
    private prisons run by Corrections Corporation of America because the
    company
    could not meet the requirements of the contract, said Tracey Little, a
    corrections spokeswoman.

    The Department of Corrections had followed a mandate from the
    General
    Assembly to contract two prisons to private companies. Corrections
    Corporation
    of America later bought out the contract awarded to another private
    corrections
    firm. After two years of trying to meet the state's criteria,
    Corrections
    Corporation of America agreed to let the state take over operations.

    The state leases the two prisons, Pamlico Correctional Institution
    and
    Mountainview Correctional Institution, from Corrections Corporation of
    America.

    No other Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities in North Carolina are
    private.
    The Federal Bureau of Prisons has contracted only six of its 104
    prisons to
    private companies.

    Wackenhut runs 57 prisons or detention centers worldwide.

 
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