The NCLBC shall exercise unified political power for the betterment of people of color and consequently, all North Carolinians.

NC prison where workers died in escape attempt fined for safety violations

April 17th, 2018

— The state Department of Labor has proposed fines of $7,000 each against Pasquotank Correctional Institution and Corrections Enterprises for workplace safety violations found in the wake of an October escape attempt that left four prison workers dead and several others injured.

The $7,000 penalty is the maximum allowed under state law.

In the Oct. 12 incident, inmates at the Corrections Enterprises sewing plant in the prison set a fire to create a diversion and then used hammers and scissors to attack correctional officers as they tried to escape.

An outside investigation found the prison was so understaffed that workers cut corners, such as leaving doors unlocked, not keeping track of tools issued to inmates and not frisking inmates after their work in the sewing plant was done.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division cited those shortcomings in issuing notices last week of “serious” violations against the prison and Corrections Enterprises. The notices recommended increased staffing, more surveillance cameras inside the prison, a policy to better control how tools are issued and returned and a policy to ensure interior doors are locked.

The Department of Public Safety has already shut down sewing plants in prisons, barred anyone convicted of a violent crime from having access to tools and is trying to fill vacant positions and improve training.

DPS officials can appeal the proposed fines by May 2.

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