Due to the threat posed by Hurricane Florence, many have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. This is however not the case for everyone, especially prison inmates.
As bad as the storm has been described to be, all orders that have been put out for people to vacate immediately. Despite the order, officials say prisons in low-lying coastal areas will not be allowed to leave.
Hurricane Florence Prison Evacuations
Both North and South Carolina have been faced with the hard tasks of deciding where their inmates will be moved to in the wake of the hurricane. Some of their prison facilities happen to be in the storm’s path.
Hurricane Florence: South Carolina Prison Evacuations
South Carolina has three major prisons that are at high risk of being affected by the storm because of how close they are to the coast. These are:
- Ridgeland Correctional Institute – Houses more than 900 inmates
- MacDougall Correctional Facility – Houses 650 inmates
- Palmer Pre-Release Center – Houses 266 prisoners
So far, only Palmer Pre-Release Center has relocated its inmates inland.
South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDOC) officials have stated that inmates at the other two facilities will not be moved. They insist that the facilities are in good condition and can handle the wrath of the storm.
To SCDOC, not moving the inmates is a safety precaution they are taking. Since the inmates are not going to be moved, that means the staff too will have to come into work. Does this put staff in danger as well?
Why Won’t Some SC Prisons Be Evacuated?
There are two main reasons why prison officials say it’s safer to not evacuate some of its prisons during Hurricane Florence:
- Moving inmates from one facility to another is quite an expensive procedure
- There is also the risk of prisoners escaping during the moving period
Disadvantages of Not Evacuating SC Inmates During the Storm
It is a huge risk not to evacuate the inmates and to leave them in the facilities. For starters, we cannot tell for sure how bad this storm will be overall. Also, the wrath of the storm could cause the already poor conditions of the facilities to become even worse.
For example, in 2017 when they did not evacuate the inmates during Hurricane Harvey the inmates suffered a great deal. They had to go through food shortage, sewage flooding, and not enough drinking water.
The inmates were even locked up in their cells during the storm.
Hurricane Florence: North Carolina Prison Evacuations
North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) officials stated that they will be moving their inmates from all prisons and county jails.
NC state officials, however, declined to say where the inmates are being moved to at this time. Their reasons for this was security issues.