Special Reports

Read the full NC prison investigation: Wrong side of the bars?

Wesley Turner, a former inmate at Lanesboro Correctional Institution, was stabbed to death in a 2012 prison fight. Investigators and lawyers believe a prison manager knew the attack was coming and did nothing to stop it.
Wesley Turner, a former inmate at Lanesboro Correctional Institution, was stabbed to death in a 2012 prison fight. Investigators and lawyers believe a prison manager knew the attack was coming and did nothing to stop it. cliddy@newsobserver.com

A Charlotte Observer special report on corruption inside NC prisons - and the officers who fuel it

A Charlotte Observer investigation found that a hidden world of drugs, sex and gang violence thrives inside North Carolina’s prisons – and that officers who are paid to prevent such corruption are instead fueling it. Prison officers frequently collude with inmates on crimes that endanger staff members, inmates and the public.

The newspaper’s five-part investigation found that some officers run lucrative contraband rings inside prisons. Others have sex with inmates. Still others beat shackled prisoners, or team up with gang members to allow brutal attacks.

State leaders, meanwhile, have created the very conditions that allow corruption to flourish.

Part 1: Sex, drugs and cellphones

▪ Secret gesture, bloody shanks: Did prison officials allow this deadly attack?

▪ How your tax dollars fund sex, drugs and abuse in NC prisons

▪ This NC prison manager is accused of helping inmates attack other prisoners

▪ Here’s how NC could fight corruption in prisons

▪ How we reported the prison series

▪ 13 commonly used prison slang terms

Part 2: Plotting a crime on a cellphone

▪ From solitary confinement, a gang leader used a smuggled cellphone to order a killing

▪ How NC prisons make life too easy for officers who smuggle drugs, cellphones

Part 3: Who’s guarding the guards?

▪ They had violent pasts and gang ties. Then they became prison officers

▪ NC prison officer planned to behead 2 people. Then the FBI stepped in.

▪ Under suspicion, prison officer resigns - then gets rehired

▪ Inadequate training puts prison officers - and inmates - in danger

Part 4: When officers attack

▪ Inmates say officers handcuffed them, then broke their bones

▪ Officers allegedly made inmates put skin-blistering hot sauce on their genitals

▪ Abused inmates ‘have no one to go to’ because of budget cuts

Part 5: Sexual affairs threaten safety

▪ Prison employee accused of giving her lover cologne, steroids - and a poodle

▪ Inmate says prison employee was his lover and drug smuggler

▪ Stacey the prison poodle

Follow-ups

▪ Lawmakers decry ‘shocking’ prison corruption uncovered by the Observer

▪ Charlotte Observer investigation prompts state review of prison corruption

▪ NC prisons get tougher in their fight against smuggled drugs and cellphones

▪ NC to launch sweeping study into prison problems revealed by Observer

▪ ‘I was scared to death.’ Will faster training help prison officers cope with dangers?

▪ Inmate alleges that prison staffer forced him to have sex - and wins in court

▪ 2 NC prison employees killed as escape attempt is thwarted. Workers attacked with hammers.

▪ After violent prison deaths, a top state official is stepping down.

▪ It was the deadliest escape attempt in NC history: ‘Kill me,’ inmate told officer.

▪ Video captures inmate brutally attacking her for 43 seconds. Why didn’t anyone help?

▪ Prison staff shortages, dangers have climbed. ‘We need help,’ officer says.

▪ After 5 deaths, state leader listening to concerns from prison officers

▪ ‘They could have raped me or killed me.’ Faulty radios put prison officers in danger.

▪ ‘Mass chaos’ reigned during fatal NC prison attacks, says one of the accused killers

▪ An inmate set a fire and waited for her. The untold story of a prison murder.

▪ NC prisons face changes following tragic year and Observer investigation

▪ ‘Everybody dozes’: Prison officers sleep on the job, putting lives at risk

▪ Prison inmates found hanging, beaten to death. Where were the officers?

▪ Stab-resistant shirts, body alarms. Prisons gear up to defend against inmate attacks.

▪ Before deadly rampage, inmates had keys, scissors and a secret hiding spot, report finds

▪ Big changes are coming to notorious NC prison. Will they end Lanesboro's problems?

Editorial

▪ Broken N.C. prisons demand stout response

▪ Kevin Siers cartoon: Who's the prisoner in North Carolina's prisons?

▪ Phil Berger and Tim Moore play politics in the face of tragedy

▪ Kevin Siers cartoon: The Legislature's response to NC prison crisis

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