NC’s prisons curtail inmate transfers after WBTV investigation

NC’s prisons curtail inmate transfers after WBTV investigation
Barbed wire sits atop a fence as a North Carolina prison. (Source: Corey Schmidt)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced on Monday it would curtail the movement of inmates between prisons and stop accepting new inmates from county jails for two weeks.

The announcement came days after a WBTV investigation obtained internal prison records showing inmates were still being frequently transferred between prisons, often in groups of more than a dozen or more and often for, seemingly, non-critical reasons.

WBTV obtained records showing inmates were still being moved from one prison to another for purposes that included having inmates work at a prison as recently as last Thursday, when the prison confirmed at least four staff members and four inmates had tested positive for Coronavirus.

At the time, prison officials refused to answer questions for the story.

On Monday, the prison system issued a press release saying “the vast majority of offender transportation between the prisons” would be suspended.

“We must deny this virus the opportunity to spread,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “It has gotten into three of our prisons and we must contain it there to the greatest degree possible. This is imperative for the health and safety of our staff and the men and women who are in our care.”

The release sent Monday did not say why prison officials had not taken these steps at the outset of the pandemic.

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