Hyde County Has No Money To Pay For Guards At New Jail

By: Tom Skinner
By: Tom Skinner

There's a new 32-bed jail in Hyde County, but no money in the budget to hire anyone to guard it.

And so the new jail remains empty, and Hyde County Sheriff David
Mason is spending money instead to send prisoners to jails
elsewhere. So far, that's included making trips to Raleigh -- 230 miles to the west.

The old courthouse and jail for the sprawling rural county that borders Pamlico Sound were damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. New facilities opened in October.

But the county needs more than $600,000 a year to pay for the 15 to 20 staff members the state says are needed at the jail.

Interim county manager Carl Classen said that would require a 14
percent property tax increase, leading the county to instead pay
neighboring counties to hold its prisoners while it figures out what to do.

And so the new jail remains empty, and Hyde County Sheriff David
Mason is spending money instead to send prisoners to jails elsewhere. So far, that's included making trips to Raleigh -- 230 miles to the west.

The old courthouse and jail for the sprawling rural county that borders Pamlico Sound were damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. New
facilities opened in October.

But the county needs more than $600,000 a year to pay for the 15
to 20 staff members the state says are needed at the jail.

Interim county manager Carl Classen said that would require a 14
percent property tax increase, leading the county to instead pay
neighboring counties to hold its prisoners while it figures out
what to do.


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  • by Anonymous Location: Hyde County on Dec 31, 2007 at 07:33 PM
    It would be nice if people would try to learn all the facts before expressing opinions. The jail staffing situation is dictated by the state. The required number of guards has tripled since the state was consulted early on. The Sheriff is trying to do what is required, just like everyone else involved. Grant funds for such an endeavor are not out there, and Hyde County already receives a greater percentage of grant funds compared to its budget than most all other counties.
  • by g Location: plymouth on Dec 31, 2007 at 09:47 AM
    More poor planning. Just what everybody needs.
  • by Anonymous Location: hyde county on Dec 30, 2007 at 12:34 PM
    We have spent over 14 million dollards on a court house and jail which has no funds to run it why put more burdens on the people of hyde co. They could have used better judgement than spent all that money and still needs more.
  • by reader Location: NC on Dec 30, 2007 at 06:25 AM
    Under North Carolina law a sheriff may hire an untrained person as a deputy with the understanding that the new deputy attends training during the first twelve months of service--Keep Up the good work Sheriff Mason...I appreciate what you do!!!
  • by o Location: Engelhard on Dec 29, 2007 at 06:21 PM
    In response to your story, the situation with the jail, there are other ways of obtaining funds thru grants and fund raisers than hitting up the tax payers still hurting from Isabell. Note: the county of Hyde has allready spent over a millions of dollars on renting facilities, contractors, equipment, new county vehicles, flat screen TV's for the new public safety center, hiring new deputies without prior training, etc., ask any taxpayer in Hyde County. There should be an Audit on this issue.
  • by Rick Location: Washington on Dec 28, 2007 at 07:16 AM
    How about renting jail space to adjacent counties that need space, and using the income for staffing. A well-constructed and run program should be cheaper than shipping criminals to Raleigh. That way we can lock up a lot more, help Hyde County, and avoid building more jails in other E. Carolina counties. Worthy of consideration?
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