Under the Dome

Hundreds of workers from closed prisons given new jobs

Hundreds of prison workers who were left in the lurch when the state began closing five prisons this year have been placed in other state jobs, a legislative oversight committee was told this week.

David Guice, commissioner of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said four of the prisons have been closed. All employees at the prison in Robeson County were placed in other jobs; all but one worker was placed from the Wayne County facility; and all but two people received offers for jobs at the prisons in Duplin and Bladen counties.

Some workers declined to take those jobs, and either resigned or retired, he said.

The Western Youth Institution will be closing in the next couple of months. Guice said 214 positions have been identified to offer the 259 workers there. The division will keep looking for positions for the remaining people.

“Not everybody will work as close to home as before,” Guice said. “But it will turn out to be an OK situation, if there can be an OK situation. I think we’ll be able to place the large majority of staff.”

Guice gave his update to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety on Thursday.

In response to a question from Sen. Warren Daniel, a Republican from Morganton, Guice will report back next month with an update on what the state will do with the buildings in the closed prisons.

The prisons were closed as the General Assembly looked for budget cuts.