Local News

State prison back to normal after Sunday bedtime disturbance

Posted August 4

— Operations at a state prison in Granville County were back to normal Monday after a group of inmates caused a disturbance Sunday night because they did not want to go to bed.

Keith Acree, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, said the newly admitted prisoners were in a dormitory of about 120 inmates at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner when they began throwing items and ripped a television off a wall and hurled it through a window.

It happened around 10 p.m., Acree said, about an hour before lights-out. No one was injured.

Acree said the inmates also put furniture, chairs and bulletin boards against doors and windows to prevent detention officers from entering the area.

He wasn't sure Monday morning how many inmates were involved in the disturbance but said prison officials isolated the instigators. Other inmates in the dormitory were placed in single cells for monitoring, he said.

Despite initial reports of a riot in which employees were being held hostage, Acree said there was no riot.

Two employees who were in the area at the time were able to get away, he said.

"We have disturbances from time to time. I'm not aware of anything like this at Polk in recent memory," Acree said. "It's part of the nature of the prison environment."

According to the Department of Public Safety, Polk Correctional Institution is a close-custody men's prison with a capacity of 904 inmates.

Sunday's disturbance came a week after a correctional officer, Lamarque Lee, was arrested for attempting to take marijuana into the prison. Lee has resigned.

Acree said there's no known connection between the arrest and what happened Sunday.

Polk Correctional Institution also came under scrutiny in April when Frank Janssen, the father of a Wake County prosecutor, was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home and held hostage for five days in Atlanta.

Investigators say Kelvin Melton, an inmate serving a life sentence, masterminded the kidnapping from his cell using a smuggled cellphone.

Acree said the smuggling of phones, drugs and other contraband is something all prisons in the state are "constantly battling against."

24 Comments

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  • moneyboy Aug 6, 1:39 p.m.

    Perhaps if inmates were treated like human beings they'd not act up like this - and can better... View More

    — Posted by Mon Account

    yeah, poor inmates. what did they ever do besides have a tough life? everyone else but them... View More

    — Posted by ohbumr

    Thats it! Speeding=60 days in jail.... makes a lot of sense..smh

  • monami Aug 4, 7:11 p.m.

    A "dormitory"?? This is prison, not college. And a guard who was arrested for taking pot into the prison "resigned"?

    What's wrong with this picture?

  • jwsawyer Aug 4, 5:39 p.m.

    "PRIVILEGES" Why do any prisoners every get any "PRIVILEGES". Don't tell me it is a tool to control the prisoners. They could be controlled by solitary if they don't behave.

  • BeKind Aug 4, 3:56 p.m.

    Prison spokesman states, "this was not a riot". Sounds like one to me. Officers were able to escape?? Where was their backup? These new inmate recruits are in for a rude awakening. They have now tarnished their "prison record" and will not be afforded any privileges any time soon.

  • 1biblethumper Aug 4, 3:42 p.m.

    Perhaps if inmates were treated like human beings they'd not act up like this - and can better... View More

    — Posted by Mon Account

    yeah, poor inmates. what did they ever do besides have a tough life? everyone else but them... View More

    — Posted by ohbumr

    Your ignorance is showing. You do know don't you, that the USA has the highest percentage of citizen inmates in the entire world? ( yet you say the punishment isn't sufficient). Other countries who treat offenders with respect have MUCH lower recidivism and every study out there shows that when you treat a convict in a decent and humane way, it benefits society. Oh, but since the USA is also the most religious industrialized nation, why should we bother with concepts such as love and forgiveness, RIGHT?

  • disgusted2010 Aug 4, 3:29 p.m.

    Perhaps these prisoners do not have a proper forum to air and discuss their grievances.

    — Posted by A cold, hard dose of Hans

    Yea, they don't have the endless free hours you have.

    — Posted by imback

    That's what happens when inmates have access to computers.

  • disgusted2010 Aug 4, 3:28 p.m.

    Perhaps these prisoners do not have a proper forum to air and discuss their grievances.

    — Posted by A cold, hard dose of Hans

    Your trolling knows no bounds, does it? Anything to inflame.

  • jwsawyer Aug 4, 3:16 p.m.

    I bet these prisoners are very glad they don't have to eat the food served to our children in public schools!

  • personality Aug 4, 3:10 p.m.

    The Justice Reinvestment Act of 2011 now provides the ability to reduce the prison population by diverting the inmate population into other areas and not going back to prison to serve their full sentence in case of a parole violation. The parole\probation officer now has the authority to decide how long a parolee goes back to prison or local county jail for up to 90 days in cases of a parole violation and no longer does a judge make the decision to send an inmate back to prison to serve their full sentence.

    This is to reduce the prison population. If you have noticed in the budget over the past few years or the newspaper, prisons have been closed down over the past few years....So I assume there is no more prison overcrowding as some people may believe have gone on in the past?

  • thefensk Aug 4, 2:58 p.m.

    Monday Morning: "What were we thinking, now we don't have TV."

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