Local News

Butner Supermax Prison 'Locks Down' Inmates

Posted December 1, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Prisons are a pretty basic concept. They keep criminals in one place and away from the public.

Prison officials say they expect prisoners to try to escape, and they plan accordingly. In North Carolina, escapes are guarded against like nowhere else.

Just about everyone has heard about the Texas break-out, and there have also been some recent prison breaks here in North Carolina.

We showed you one solution in Butner under construction back in May. Now, the Supermax prison is open for business

With it's $8 million Supermax prison, North Carolina is part of a nationwide trend. Forty states now have Super Maximum security prisons.

The prisons are designed to get tough on violent inmates and inmates who are escape threats.

"Very few things are completely foolproof, I think this particular unit probably comes as close to being foolproof or escape-proof as any facility I've been in," said Warden George Currie.

Just about everything in the cells is controlled in a high-tech command center. The central security theme reduces human contact with inmates as much as possible.

Inmates stay in lock down 23 hours a day. They are allowed to exercise in a small hallway one hour a day. There is no TV, no radio and almost no outside contact.

"Actually, the kind of people they got in these cells now, there ain't too many places you can put some people. I have no earthly idea why I'm here," said Inmate Michael Moore.

The warden says Moore killed another prisoner and was plotting an escape from Central Prison making him a perfect candidate for Supermax.

Prison officials just hope the word gets out. If you try to escape, or try to start trouble, you may end up here.