UPDATED: From One North Carolina Prison, Reports of an Eight-Month Lockdown

September 11, 2014 | Solitary Watch | 

UPDATE (September 18, 2014): Solitary Watch received the following statement via email from North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesperson Keith Acree:

The evolving lockdown situation at Scotland Correctional Institution has affected about 600 inmates in close custody regular population housing. The medium custody (~540) and minimum custody (~240) populations have not been affected nor have those on control status (~230). The entire prison population today is 1,663.

We implement lockdowns when needed to ensure the safety of inmates and staff and to prevent injuries. The December lockdown was prompted by a series of fights between large groups of inmates at Scotland that resulted in injuries to inmates and staff. Since the beginning of 2014, the institution has recorded 61 actual or attempted assaults on staff and 20 actual or attempted inmate on inmate assaults.

At this point, the lockdown for close custody regular population (RPOP) has stepped down to a point that we call “managed observation”. Close custody RPOP inmates are now allowed about 4 hours of out-of-cell time daily (compared to about 8 hours before the Dec. 28 fights that began the lockdown).

Visiting, outdoor recreation, telephone use and canteen privileges have resumed. Vocational and educational programs are in session and the prison’s two Correction Enterprises plants (a sewing plant and the Braille plant) are operating normally. Inmates continue to receive hot meals brought to their cells. All activities are occurring in small groups. Religious services have not yet resumed. A new chaplain began work this week.

Since the lockdown began Dec. 28, restrictions have been lifted in 11 progressive steps, based on inmate behavior and cooperation, to reach the point where we are today. Continue reading

ACLU: County Jails Are Not Compliant With Prison Rape Elimination Act

From: WUNC, May 15, 2014:

A new report from the ACLU of North Carolina suggests many of the state’s county jails are not compliant with sexual assault prevention measures. The group says of the state’s 100 counties, 58 responded to requests regarding the measures jails take to prevent the assault of prisoners. None of those 58 were in full compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a 2003 federal law.

The group’s report focuses heavily on compliance involving inmates under the age of 18. Where most counties seem to be falling down is with keeping incarcerated youth (a particularly vulnerable population) separate from incarcerated adults.

“Their sleeping quarters are separated but the rest of the time they are not separated from the adult population,” said Sarah Preston, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. She points out that many facilities were not initially meant to house separate populations in the first place.

“The facilities never really were designed for juveniles, and therefore they were not designed to make it easy to keep the juveniles separate,” said Preston. “So we’re just kind of throwing these 16- and 17-year-olds in with the adult population. And that’s something that was a roadblock for some of these facilities that might want to comply.”

Nine of the 58 respondents looked to be attempting full-compliance, according to the report.

Read the rest here.