Imari Scarbrough Staff Writer
December 26, 2013
The State Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Lanesboro Correctional Institute continues amidst violence, the discovery of contraband, and allegations of inmate mistreatment by officials.
The Anson Record first reported on the recent allegations of inmate mistreatment in a Dec. 4 article, “Allegations of mistreatment surface at Lanesboro Correctional,” which included a portion of a letter from an inmate. A spouse of an inmate wrote to The Anson Record last week (“Inmate mistreatment allegations continue at Lanesboro Correctional”) in response to the Dec. 4 article and complained of alleged abuse against her husband.
On Monday, a mother of an inmate also wrote to The Anson Record to respond to the article. “They shower with shackles on,” she said. “Prisoners have fallen in the showers. My son has been waiting for his meds for five months now… the place is filthy and even the lawyers that it was a horrible experience. A guard scared the hell out of my 11-year-old granddaughter when we visited in August.”
The mother requested to remain anonymous. “Please don’t use my name; it will only hurt my son and he will face the repercussions,” she cautioned. “It has happened before and I do not want to see him hurt. We wish though they will allow him to call his daughter and me at Christmas. We miss his voice and that is what keeps his daughter and me calm (we both have anxiety attacks) knowing he is well and alive.”
The facility is currently on lockdown after an inmate attacked a corrections officer using an improvised weapon on Nov. 15. A search was conducted after the attack and led to the discovery of contraband items, including numerous weapons, cell phones and marijuana. The lockdown limits inmates to three showers a week, no telephone access, and initially denied access to the prison’s canteen for supplies, including stamps and additional hygiene items.
Keith Acree, communications officer over adult correction with the N.C. Department of Public Safety, said that he is unsure when the lockdown at Lanesboro will be lifted. Small changes in the lockdown status have been made, however, as prisoners have been able to purchase items from the canteen for the past couple of weeks. He said he was not sure if allegations from inmate relatives that prisoners are handcuffed in the showers are true.
Acree said that the SBI’s probe was triggered by the stabbing murder of inmate Wesley Turner by another inmate in September 2012. “The investigation has been ongoing for quite some time now,” he said. “There’s been no outcome from that as far as I’m aware.” Calls to the SBI were not returned by press deadline.
Lanesboro is no stranger to the media. In January, three inmates were indicted by an Anson County Grand Jury for Turner’s murder and for assault using a deadly weapon (homemade shank) with intent to kill a second inmate. In 2011, former prison administrator Richard Neely was removed after being charged with a felony count of obstructing justice after he ordered the destruction of video surveillance related to an investigation. Those charges were later dismissed.
Lanesboro, a high-security prison facility, is adjacent to Brown Creek Correctional Institution and Anson Correctional Center in Polkton.