Hoke Correctional Institution one of three state prisons to temporarily close

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Three state prisons will be temporarily closed, including one in Hoke County, state officials say.

They say it’s in an effort to help fill staffing needs at other facilities.

Tracy Little, with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, says there’s a 21 percent vacancy rate for state correctional officers.

Hoke Correctional Institution will close first. It was built in 1954 and needs about $3 million in repairs.

There are about 150 staff members and 500 inmates there.

“We realize they have been doing a tremendous job for many months, working mandatory overtime, taking time away from their families, things that people who don’t work in a prison take for granted,” Little said.

Employees will be reassigned to neighboring facilities in need of more staff. 

“We understand that in some cases staff will be driving long distances to work, in some cases, staff will be driving shorter distances to work.”

Little says this process will gradually happen over the next few months.

“Our staff has been sacrificing for some time now and we definitely want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to mitigate disruption to their lives.”

The other two prisons temporarily closing include the Tyrrell Prison Work Farm in Columbia and Odom Correctional Institute in Jackson.

State officials say they’re trying this out for six months and will then re-evaluate the status of the three prisons.

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