Senator Steinburg Reaches Milestone in Prison Reform Efforts

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Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety has visited half of the state’s prison facilities

Hillsborough, N.C. — Today, Senator Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan) achieved a milestone after visiting three prisons in Orange and Caswell counties. He has visited half of the state’s 53 prisons and is well on his way to meet his goal of visiting all 53 by mid-March.

Senator Steinburg has lead the charge for prison reform after five employees — Meggan Callahan, Justin Smith, Veronica Darden, Wendy Shannon and Geoffrey Howe — were killed in facilities in his district. Since then he’s traveled around the state to talk with prison staff about the issues plaguing their system and how to best address staff shortages and low pay. Senator Steinburg also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety, which met regularly throughout the session.

“The men and women who work in our state’s prisons put their lives on the line every day they show up to work. These officers are threatened on a regular basis and have to worry about the threats becoming reality,” Senator Steinburg said.

“Frequent staffing shortages and security flaws in the prisons have led to the deaths of five people. Those are real consequences that should have been avoided. We owe it to these fine men and women to find ways to prevent future tragedies from happening.”

Since the attacks in prisons in Bertie and Pasquotank counties, Senator Steinburg has authored the “Prison Reform Act of 2019,” which authorizes studies into the management system of the state’s prisons. The bill passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and became law on November 1.

“There is no silver bullet to fix these issues,” Senator Steinburg said. “By meeting with and talking with employees in the prisons we’re able to get a clearer picture of what reforms will be needed.”

Senator Steinburg visited the Orange Correctional Center, Caswell Correctional Center, and the Dan River Prison Work Farm today.

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