Closing date set for state prison

The 198-bed Cabarrus Correctional Center, a minimum-security state prison built in 1929, is scheduled to close on Dec. 1 as part of state budget cuts that will also shutter three other N.C. prisons.

Inmates will transfer to other facilities within the state Division of Prisons before the closings, said Keith Acree, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Correction.

The department will try to place eligible employees in vacant positions elsewhere within it, Acree said.

In the state budget approved in June, the General Assembly directed that the prisons be closed. Also set for closing later this year are the Charlotte Correctional Center in southwest Charlotte and others in Haywood County and Durham.

State prison officials haven't decided how to dispose of the properties once they're closed, Acree said.

In the 1930s, Cabarrus Correctional Center was among 61 prisons in the state housing inmates who worked building roads, according to the N.C. Department of Correction website.

Inmates originally were housed in a building that had two dormitories. A modular dormitory was added in 1978 and later removed.

A chapel was built in the early 1970s by the Cabarrus Christian Ministries Association, and volunteers still offer daily religious services there.

Lawmakers provided an additional 100-bed dormitory at Cabarrus Correctional Center in the mid-1980s.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers vocational classes in horticulture and GED completion at the prison. In the New Lease on Life program, inmates, along with the local Humane Society, train dogs for adoption during an eight-week program there.

Inmates are all male and work various jobs during their confinement. They have been assigned to state Department of Transportation road crews and have worked under contract for local government agencies. They also perform maintenance and kitchen work at the prison.

Inmates nearing parole participate in work release, leaving the prison for part of the day to work for businesses in the community.