A local women’s correctional facility is in danger of being shut down. Governor Perdue’s proposed budget recommends closing seven minimum-security prisons in North Carolina, including the Wilmington Residential Facility for Women.
“My crime is not something I talk easily about,” said one inmate who went by the name of Alice.
Alice is a convicted felon. She’s serving a sentence of more than five years. She spent two years in a minimum-security prison in Raleigh.
Then in October, she was given work release, and transferred to the Wilmington Residential Facility for Women. “Here, we have a chance to be rehabilitated we have a chance to correct the mistakes in our lives that caused us to be here.”
But the facility’s days may be numbered. Governor Bev Perdue’s budget proposal includes shutting it down, as a way to save money.
“This is not easy for me; 42 years of my life will end if this place closes,” said Laura Overstreet, the superintendent at the Wilmington Residential Facility for Women.
Overstreet said the annual budget is a little more than half a million dollars. The facility houses 36 inmates. Each have a job and the majority work in the community.
They’re not exactly living at the facility for free, either. Out of their paycheck, they pay the state about 18 dollars, for every eight hours they work. “Its not they just give us these things, we have responsibility we work for these things and that gives us, a sense of self,” Alice said.
Similar facilities are located in Raleigh, Rocky Mount and Lexington. If the one in Wilmington closes, inmates will be transferred and face the possibility of not getting a new job.
The General Assembly still has to approve the budget. The Wilmington facility was established in 1976. Inmates must be healthy, have job skills, and have stayed out of trouble in prison for at least three months.