Unprecedented Investigation at Local Prison

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by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty

POLKTON, N.C. - As storms brewed outside the Lanesboro Correctional Facility Wednesday, an unprecedented operation to tamp down trouble inside the barbed wire fences heated up, too. We're told for the first time in state history, agents from the Prison Emergency Response Team, Alcohol Law Enforcement, State Highway Patrol, the SBI and the FBI descended on the prison for what's being called a "comprehensive assessment", designed to determine what type of "situations" exist at the prison and what kind of pre-emptive measures need to be taken.

It's anyone's guess as to why now, why this day.  The prison's had it's share of problems.  In 2012, an inmate named Wesley Turner was stabbed to death during a prison fight that involved several inmates.  In 2013, a prison sergeant's throat was slashed by an inmate. She was treated and returned to work.  The same year, a corrections officer was arrested for possession of marijuana. 
 
This year, Lanesboro corrections officer Bias Easley was shot and killed at his south Charlotte home.  And then there's the "inmates with cell phones" orchestrated kidnapping of an assistant district attorney's relative in Raleigh.  "Certainly the Janssen investigation, that gave us a heightened awareness of what potentially we could face on any given day," says NC Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker.
 
The search includes records reviews, prison cell searchers and interviews.  500 people work here and 1,500 inmates are housed here, because they either have long prison sentences or have behavioral problems.
 
After 13 hours, and all those agencies, we're told all they found was one homemade knife and one cell phone.  Some inmates were reportedly angered by the massive search. Others, appreciative. And staff?  "I'm sure we have staff that are afraid from time to time, and that's why it's so important to us to show the support," Walker says. 
 
There's no time frame for when the full results of Wednesday investigation will be released, either internally or publicly. 
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