Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press, September 30, 2021
Four North Carolina state prisons and a drug addiction treatment facility for probationers are getting their names changed because of histories connected to racism or slavery, the Department of Public Safety announced Thursday.
Two of the five facilities had been named for 20th century Governors Cameron Morrison and Gregg Cherry.
“These changes are being made to better reflect the diversity of modern-day society,” state Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a news release. “In this day and age, it is unacceptable to maintain facility names with negative historical connotations.”
The agency said Caledonia Correctional Institution in Tillery will become Roanoke River Correctional Institution. Polk Correctional Institution in Butner will be renamed Granville Correctional Institution. And Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain will become Western Correctional Center for Women.
Caledonia refers to an antebellum plantation on the prison property where slave labor worked in the fields, the department said. Polk is linked to William Polk, a Revolutionary War officer who owned slaves, while Swannanoa refers to the construction of an Asheville tunnel that resulted in the deaths of numerous Black prisoners who worked on it in the late 1800s.