Nash County hires new jail administrator following escape of 5 inmates

Local News

NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Nash County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that they have hired a new jail administrator — the hire comes just a little over a week since five inmates escaped the jail there.

According to a press release, Wilson County native Kevin Barnes will now take control of the Nash County Jail. Barnes came out of retirement to take the job, the sheriff’s office says.

Barnes began his career in 1987 as a correctional officer at the Polk Youth Center in Raleigh, the release says. He has 31 years of prison experience and over 28 years of supervising experience in correctional management, according to the sheriff’s office.

Before his retirement, Barnes served as the correctional administrator at Warren Correctional Institution for two years.

“Barnes oversaw a prison that housed more than 850 male inmates in close, medium and minimum custody and employed 400 employees. In addition, Mr. Barnes managed a more than $20 million operating budget,” the release says.

According to the sheriff’s office, Barnes has worked in 11 different custody levels and has held numerous managerial positions in Wake, Nash, Pasquotank, Pamlico, Craven, Wayne and Warren counties.

Five inmates — Raheem Horne, 25, Laquaris Battle, 22, David Viverette, 28, David Ruffin, 30, and Keonte Murphy, 23 — escaped the jail on March 25 after they kicked through a fence, the sheriff’s office said.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the fence had been recently repaired, but added the escape highlights the need for updates to the facility, which was built in the 1970s.

Four of the inmates were caught within about 12 hours of their escape. Battle was on the run until he was captured in South Carolina on March 31.

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