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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Sgt. Robert Stone (S)
North Carolina State Department of Corrections
Interviewer: Lew Barton (I)
June 14, 1973
Typed by: Paula Whidden
I: "- t; 14, 1973. I'm Lew Barton, interviewing for the Doris Duke Foundation's,
the University of Florida's History Department's American Indian Oral History
Program. Today we are in Lumberton, North Carolina, or near Lumberton, North
Carolina, at the North Carolina State Department of Corrections, Robeson
County Unit. Did I say that right, sir?
S: Yes sir.
I: Would you please give us your name and title of your position?
S: Uh, Robert Stone, Sergeant.
I: Uh, you were certainly kind to agree to give us an interview and we want to
thank you for your hospitality here this week--we could call it that. Uh,
the story here is a very interesting one, and many people are interested, and
we're very proud of the steps that the state has taken within recent years--
taking a forward position in prison reforms, court reforms, um, all of these
things make us very proud of our state. Would you tell us where you're from,
S: Tarheel, North Carolina.
I: Uh, how long have you been over here?
S: Three year.
I: Uh-huh. Would you tell us something about your family, your age, your children--
could you give us their names? You know, sometimes fathers, uh, for example,
myself, when somebody asks me about my nine children, and to give me their
ages and names, that's a big order.
S: Well, I've been married...I married Rosa Ann Anderson back in 1961. We have
two children, Alisa Ann and Wanda. They're both in school, getting along fine.
I: That's good, uh, have you lived in this area very long?
S: No, sir, I haven't. Um, I still stay in (Blaytonf) County, I just work
over here. I transferred over here three year ago from another unit.
I: I see. You know Blayton used to be a large county, still is, isn't it?
S: Yes sir, it is.
I: It used to include Robeson and Polk, all these counties in here. Uh, we
would like to talk about anything you'd like to talk about, um, mainly the
institution and its programs, uh, anything at all that might be of interest,
and, uh, we think that just about everything is of interest, with an
institution of this kind. Have you seen any changes take place since you've
been over here?
S: Quite a few.
I: We're making progress all the time, aren't we?
S: Um, yes sir, we are.
I: These changes, uh--changes, not necessarily progress, but, uh, we can
generally assume that it is, I think. Could you tell us about any changes
that have taken place, uh, in your own words? We'd like to encourage you
to talk just as much as possible, tell us anything you'd like. This is
your story, this is, uh, the story of the institution. We'd like for it
to go down--this program is called "Living History"--it's a new approach
to history. Instead of waiting for people to die and talk about them
many years later, we'd like to talk to them while they live and while they
can help tell their own story. If you would like to tell us anything
that's occurred since you've been here, about any kind of improvements or
otherwise, uh, or any changes or any opinions that you have. We're
S: The biggest change I've saw in the Department of Corrections is letting
these men go home on weekends, spend the weekends with their families.
Uh, the way you do this is, is to be on Work Release, which is a program
within the Department of Corrections. It's the best thing that ever
happened for the inmate in the Department of Corrections.
I: That's great. Is it kind of hard for them to qualify--I mean they have
to be honor-graded, they really have to earn it, don't they?
S: Yes sir, they have to be in Honor-Grade, they have to be pulledd)
fifteen percent of the time unless recommended by court. If recommended
by court, he can go back to his same job that he was on before he came
into the Department. He's got a waiting period of at least thirty days
before he can go back. And this way, a man learns how to take respon-
sibility. He, uh, supports his family, he supports hisself, he pays
room and board here.
I: That is interesting. Instead of being a liability as in the past, he is
now an asset, he can be an asset to the state and less burdensome.
S: Right, sir. Uh, these people have made a marvelous change in theirselves.
<70CLt C 4
They learn how to take responsibility, they (l-eaen-hw-to work every
day?) they're supposed to work, and come back in here. There's no
super...no Department supervision whatsoeverover. He takes'is on his
own, go out and does an honest day's work, come back in. In reward for
this, the Department of Corrections is letting these people go out and
spend as much as forty-eight hours on weekends with his family.
I: Well, this, uh, certainly must be a boost to the morale of the inmates.
Can you tell a change in their attitude toward their time here and the
tasks that you assign them from time to time?
S: Yes sir, uh, everyone seems to want to get on this Work Release Program,
which is to benefit the inmate himself. Uh, the inmate come here with
a little bit of time, and he can leave here with some money in his pocket
instead of going back out in the world broke, and not have a penny
I: Well, it's a different, a little different concept--well, I shouldn't
say a little different, a big difference--from the old days when confinement
was regarded as punishment and not as rehabilitation. Would you say the
attitude toward our institutions has changed drastically within, say, the
past twenty years in this direction?
S: It certainly has. Uh, used to, the...well, years back, the inmate come to,
uh, prison back then, it was a disgrace. I mean he was something that
everybody was scared of, because he was an inmate. And now, an inmate
comes to prison, we're striving toward rehabilitation. Try to get the
man to take responsibilities, learn how to live in the world without
committing another crime.
I: In other words, we don't automatically assume that he's a failure.
I: Now, when they go back into the world, into the outside world, do they,
uh...how long would it take a man, say, if he wanted to really get back
into things and he became interested in civic matters...I assume that you
lose your citizenship with a, if you're a felon?...or...
S: If you're convicted of a felony you lose your citizenship.
I: Is there any possibility of regaining this? Now, I don't know very
S: Uh, I believe after two year you can get it reinstated.
I: Yes sir. Do some of your prisoners, after they go out, really go out
and become, uh, leading members of their community at times?
S: Yes sir, we have quite a few that goes out...well, one individual I
know of, tm st to him while he was here, uh, he's a minister
I: Um-hmm. That's great. Do you set a goal for yourself as to success,
how many of these men you think you can help and how many you might sort
of write off? Maybe we might not be able to reach all of them, but
we're aiming for a certain percentage?
S: No sir, I don't set a goal for myself. I treat a man as if he is a man--
he has to prove...he has to live up to be a man. I give him what his
hand calls for. If, uh, he wants to help hisself, I'll help him. A
man's got to help hisself before anybody can help him.
I: That's true. There's an old saying that God helps those who help them-
selves. I don't think that's in the Bible, but I believe it's true.
Andof course, this is true, especially true here because a man has to
prove himself--well, he has to do it outside, too.
S: Right, sir.
I: If all the responsibility is with him, really. If he's given a chance,
do you feel that the average man will take advantage of his opportunities
and do well?
S: Yes sir, I do.
I: Do you have a lot of faith in human nature?
S: I certainly do.
I: Do you consider yourself a good judge of human nature?
S: I try to be, I....
I: I think most people connected with correctional work are people like this--
people who can judge, uh, make pretty good judgments about another human
being, you know. Uh, do you ever find yourself awfully wrong, though?
S: Very seldom. Uh, an inmate, he, like I say, he's got a period here where
you just observe. Then he...we keep a record on him, and anything he does
is recorded,-you know, against rules and regulations, and, uh, (we just
can't do without) rules and regulations to live by.
I: Right. Guess we have to have them outside, too.
S: Right, sir.
I: And what you do is observe his behavioral patterns...
S: Right, sir.
I: Do you have anything like a forum that you can hear from the prisoners, for
example, if they have suggestions they want to make, do you have any kind
of method of allowing them to bring these things to the attention of the
S: Uh, yes sir, they have forums, and, too, the line officers like myself--
which is the line officers who are considered are your sergeants, lieu-
tenants, and captains--they're on the hour about a fourth of the time while
on duty at the units, talking to the inmates. Anything they want to talk
to us about we talk to'em about it.
I: That's very fine. Do you have a chaplain?
S: Uh, no sir, not assigned to this unit. We have several, uh, preachers
that come around on Saturday and Sunday. Every weekend we have service
here for'em, and they have a revival here about twice a year. Some of
the ministers around in the community come in and have a revival for'em.
I: I can remember several years ago, having lived in this area, hearing a
gospel singing group from a prison camp here who would come on the radio
on Sunday. I'm hoping that maybe something like this can happen again--
this was really a great group, very talented. Is it easy to drum up
interest in something of this nature?
S: Uh, now, they's a few of'em that sing during church, but I don't think
they're this good, I mean, good enough to get on radio. They don't...I
believe a microphone embarrasses them or something.
I: How about psychological help, psychiatric help, this sort of thing.
Do you have regular doctors or psychologists assigned to the unit, or
doctors and psychologists upon whom you can call if you need them?
S: Uh, we got a nurse that.comes around twice a week. She sees the ones
that are sick or are ailing, and if she feels that they need to see a
doctor, we send them to the doctor. We got a doctor in (McCain?)
We send them up twice a week if they need to go, and if an emergency
occurs we send'em over to the emergency room at Southeastern General
Hospital here in Lumberton.
I: As I said earlier, I don't know very much about correctional institutions,
so I might ask some pretty dumb questions. I was just wondering if you
have, uh, any kind of counseling service or anything like this. I know
that, of course, uh, it seems that having the close contact and under-
standing people that you have on the staff here, maybe this wouldn't be
necessary, because, uh, officers know the men pretty well, and it's not
too large an institution. So maybe this wouldn't be helpful as much as
the system you use if you don't have one, but I was just wondering if you
do have, uh, sort of a formal counseling service so if they want to discuss
something they can find somebody to at least listen to the problems.
S: Uh, yes sir, we do have this here. We got two hundred...about two hundred
and fourteen inmates assigned to this unit right now, and each employee
here is assigned so many inmates. As they come in, they assign'em to the
inmate, I mean, assign the inmate to the employee, and tell the inmate
this is his (team-man?) we call them (team-men?)
I: Oh, I see.
S: Uh, if he has any problems or anything, he goes to this man and this
employee will talk to the inmate. If the employee can't help him, he'll
bring it to the office to the captain, sergeant, or the lieutenant.
I: Well, that's certainly great. I don't see whya man can't help himself if
he really wants to.
S: Right sir.
I: If he wants to make good, he can. Uh, I've heard this again and again since
I've been here, and I've certainly believed it. Could you tell us any other
changes that have taken place?
S: Yes. An inmate who comes to the Department of Corrections with a low IQ or
didn't have any schooling when he was young--a lot of people in North Caro-
lina didn't have the chance to go to school, or weren't able, they're parents
weren't able to send them to school when they were young. A man that comes
in that can't read and write, we give him a chance to go to school, to learn,
read, and write. We, uh, helped several inmates--I don't recall the number
right offhand--get a high school education who've taken the high school
equivalence test, since they've been in the Department of Corrections.
I: Well, that's certainly interesting. How do these students do when they get
a chance like this?
S: Well, some of them jump on it and some of them don't want (any?) I
believe it embarrasses them to let people know they don't have an education.
Now, some of them that's, that wants to do, that wants to learn, they jump
on the chance to get to go to school.
I: Uh-huh. Well, that's certainly great and certainly constructive. Uh, I want
ask you for an opinion. Don't give it,,unless you want to. Uh, some people
f ,l "
C (fi t. ' ^ ^ K I (laughs) Uh, some people have criticized
our progressive, what I consider to be progressive, changes as though we're
being too soft on them, prisoners...well, "a prison isn't a prison any more."
How do you feel about this?
S: Well, like I said before, in my statement before, an inmate is sent to
prison--he's not condemned. Uh, there's always a chance for a man to
change his way of life. If a man can change his way of life, give him a
chance to change it. That's just like an alcoholic. A man stays drunk
all the time, he's not...if you can give him a chance to change, let the
man change! Don't (totet) him down!
I: Well, that's certainly great. How about the work patterns, have they
changed drastically, do you think?
S: Yes sir, they have. Back when there used to be a chain gang, if a man was
able to walk, he went to work. Uh, if he was sick, he went to the doctor,
and if the doctor didn't say he was...if the doctor said he was able to
work, they put him in what they called a hole back then. And it was a hole.
I: I've heard it mentioned several times. It seems that in the old days it was
considered to be an awful place and an awful punishment.
S: Right, sir. But, now you've got .A t\' I. Even though we've got
two hundred and fourteen men assigned to this unit, we only work forty men
on the road. And they've been a lot of changes since...they go out at eight
o'clock now and get back in at four thirty. They take about an hour off for
lunch. They don't work as hard as they used to. Used to, they used to work
from sunup to sundown, half a day on Saturday. they had Saturday after-
noon off, but not anymore, they only work a" e forty hours a week
I: Only a forty-hour week. This is, uh, very interesting. Go right ahead,
I didn't mean to interrupt you. Just enjoying what you're saying.
S: That's about, that's about it.
I: Working, of course, is part of being here, but in the old days as I remem-
ber it when I was a kid, I would walk down the highways, and so many people
were assigned to the road units, this isn't done any more by the pr soners,
S: Uh, no sir, it's not.
I: This has been given to other, uh, people to do. And you really don't have
a whole lot of things that your prisoners could be assigned to. In the
old days, there used to be a theory that perhaps a prison camp could be
self-supporting in other ways, you know, like with their gardens, growing
their gardens, sort of truck farming and this sort of thing. Of course,
this was just the beginning of the real changes in the work patterns as you
have them today, I suppose. .- .(
S: Used to, when you went to a prison camp, the men would have a great big
garden out in front, you know. You don't have a garden anymore, uh, what
the prison department does, they feed all inmates alike on each meal.
They got a master menu that comes out of Raleigh. Food is ordered according
to the menu. For the inmate at one, the inmate in Robeson County is
served pork chops for supper, the inmate in Raleigh is served the same
I: You have a uniform diet throughout the state.
S: Right, right.
I: How does, uh, how does North Carolina compare with other states inAattitudes
toward prison reforms and this sort of thing, can you...?
S: I believe North Carolina is number one or number two in the nation.
I: That's something to be proud of, isn't it?
S: Right, sir.
I: Do you know which other state this is, the number one state, would this
be California by any...?
S: This I don't know right offhand.
I: This certainly is encouraging. Some people look at us as a back-, sort of a
backward state, and of course that's in quotation marks. I've never
regarded the Tarheel State as backward by any means. We've always had our
progressive elements, but we may have had some people who sort of dragged
their feet (laughs) a little bit at times. What do you envision for the
future in institutions?
S: Well, as of July 1 of this year, we're taking all the men off the road in
North Carolina. What I mean road is the, uh, what they calll) gangs
that works out doing works, squad works, working out on the roads. I think
they're going to try to put all these men in school, and put'em what don't
want to go to school, they's certain work that has to be done around the
unit. Some inmates are going to have to do this work. What I mean by
school is a trade school, learn how to do something besides steal or shoot
or fight or do something of this nature. They going to learn-htI f a trade.
They'll probably have auto mechanic, brick mason, sewing machine mechanic,
carpenter school, and then they're going to have just a regular basic
I: How about the attitude of the, here we go again, outside world, do you
think we're changing, everyday people such as myself, do you think we're
changing in our attitudes toward the prisoners and toward those who have
committed an offense against the state? Uh, do you think this is
helpful? Pretty long question, huh?
S: Right, sir. I believe that a majority of the people out in the world
are realizing that an inmate is not being condemned just because he has
made a mistake.
I: Uh, what other... Another question I wanted to ask you is about, in this
connection, is about the attitude of fear. Does there seem to be fear
at times because of work release? Is it this sort of thing, are some
of our people apprehensive, or have they outgrown this now?
S: I believe they're about to outgrow this. People are realizing that,
a 'these people are human. They can go out and do an
honest day's work and come back, and be a man--instead of somebody
that's just looking for trouble.
I: Of course, if one of the people would suddenly decide to backslide,
so to speak, uh, is there some way that...it would probably be known
by the officers pretty shortly, wouldn't it?
S: Right, sir, and we are set up to handle .this. An employee--all of our
employees are trained for this purpose.
I: Well, you have participating employers, of course, and is it necessary +
get them together, sort of orient them into the program and explain its
meaning and the way it works and all this to them?
S: Yes sir. We have a meeting about once a month with all employees here,
and things are discussed. Things that, you know, the things that comes
up, uh, like business, you know, that's something that's coming up in
the future to discuss before it ever gets here--before the time comes
that it goes into effect. So an employee don't walk on...leave our
jobs, walk on the yard blindly--he'll know what to do and what to expect,
if someone asks him a question he'll know how to answer it.
I: Yes sir. In the old days, there was, uh, I keep saying it--the phrase,
"in the old days"--but before prison reforms were instituted, there
seemed to be an attitude among all of us, you know, that certain people
were more or less born criminals or had tendencies in this direction.
For example, I heard a psychologist asked on national television once,
"Sir, what can we do about spotting potential murderers, for example?"
He said, "Is there anything we can do about spotting potential murderers
before they actually become murderers?" And this psychologist made a
very surprising reply to me at that time. He said, "Sir, everybody is
a potential murderer."
S: Uh, that is true. Uh, most of the time when a murder has occurred,
it's done on impulse. Man gets mad with somebody, he retaliates, he
does it then, he doesn't have time to think about it. Uh, he's just
like somebody getting mad, temper just flies, he just does what he's
going to doland this could occur at any time.
I: Might be sorry about it five minutes later...
S: Right, could be, and most of them are.
I: Well, it seems that, uh, you know, in consideration of this, those
recent laws, you know, controlling guns or giving better control of firearms,
it would be a very desirable thing then, wouldn't it? Because if a gun
isn't available, by the time a man could get one, he very well might have
changed his mind.
S: Right, he's cooled off by then. He's lost his desire to retaliate by this
I: Do you think, by the way, that we've got too many guns around?
S: We still have too many, yes sir.
I: Somebody said in a radio-television broadcast not long ago that America
was the most armed nation in the world. I understand that in England, for
example, the policeman just carries a nightstick or something like that--
not even the policemen always carry firearms. But if nobody else has them,
nobody else would feel compelled to arm themselves against firearms.
S: I don't believe he would, either.
I: Maybe we'll get away from that, I think one of the legal aspects of it,
though, is that the Constitution has been interpreted by some scholars of
the Constitution as giving a man the right to carry arms or possess arms.
Maybe the Supreme Court or whichever other body is appropriate will change
this in time to come. I certainly would be in favor of fewer people
owning guns. I never felt that I needed one myself. I never felt
compelled to even carry a pocketknife. My wife always told me, "You're
different from anybody I ever saw, you don't even need a pocketknife--
you need that to even trim your fingernails!" But,.um, then the opportunity
and the conditions have a lot, have about as much to do with committing
a crime in your opinion as the man himself.
S: Right, sir, it does. If a main a place where there can be expected to
be trouble, there's going to be trouble sooner or later. If he'll stay
away from these places, he won't be in as much trouble. They's places
where I could go tonight and get in trouble if I go there. So I stay
away from these places.
I: Among the Indian community, I know our older people used to be pretty
strict in this direction. I know when I was coming up I was lectured
a lot about the company you keep. This can mean so much. And then I
suppose there are people who are easily persuaded to do what they
wouldn't have done normally, simply because they were in the company of
other people who didn't care. Do you think this is...?
S: Yes sLr, I think a man gets off duty and he's with some fellows that don't
care--maybe he's a young kid, or a young man, rather. He can get in
trouble his way. Maybe this other fellow talks him into it, boosts him
into i, and then he committs this crime, and then he's down here pulling
time aid this fellow that boosted him into it is out there in the free
world laughing at him. Look what a fool he was!
I: Well, Icertainly hope that we'll be able to reach our young people more
completely. By the way, do you think young people are worse today than
they were yesterday, basically?
S: Well, I guess I couldn't tell you that right offhand. We still get a lot
of young people into the Department of Corrections. Our age group now
mostly is in the twenties. That is the biggest portion of your inmates
in the apartmentt of Corrections.
I: It would seem, then, that age seems to have a tendency to mellow people,
doesn't it? I guess this is....
S: Right, sir. Most of your people here with age have come here when they
were a young man and they're still here.
I: I was talking to an inmate who--I don't know whether he was here or not
but i my work as a newspaper man, I came into contact with this particular
man who was convicted of killing his own father. Course, people felt
that was pretty horrible. When I talked to him, I asked him, I said,
"Uh, how is it you could\do something like this?" He said, "A man never
knows ihat he's capable of until he comes up against certain conditions."
He sid, "I had no idea I could do that myself."......................
He said, "I did it and I know I did it" but he seemed to say that he
was provoked into it by the conditions. And this goes back to the
matter of guns and the opportunity and the bad company and all this,
S: Right, sir.
I: Maybe we could get some different programs or some better programs in
our schools too that help along with...
S: Right, sir.
I: Do you think we're delegating--we as parents--are delegating more of child-
raising duty to the schools than we used to?
S: Yes sir, I do.
I: I did ask you how old you were, didn't I?
S: Yes sir, I believe you did, I don't know whether I told you or not, but
I: These things are important and there's some way of reaching just about
every human being, I think, and if you can't reach them through the schools,
or through the ministers, or through their neighbors...well, through, uh,
public programs...do you think maybe television, radio could be utilized
more in this direction, or even newspapers? I'm a newspaper man, but I
realize that newspapers do carry news that's often not what we call of a
constructive nature--it's interesting, but sometimes we seem to have too
much of one kind without the other. That's a criticism I would make
myself. Do you think if we made a concerted effort, if we had some kind
of overall organization which would just take all these channels into
consideration and just move in this direction and see how, just how it
could be effected. Maybe they could be more effective in suggesting
LUM 118 A
certain things to the mass media, for example, a lot of violence on
television, things like this?
S: Yes sir, I do.
I: Do you think this matter of violence on television is just about as
conducive as some people, a lot of people say it is?
S: Yes sir, uh, they show a lot of stuff on TV that people learn a lot
about, that never saw anything like it before. I see a lot of movies
on TV about these criminals and how they do, and I tell my kids and
wife, I say no. This particular prison department in North Carolina,
they're so smart, like back when Al Capone was going on, when he was
running, this particular prison department in North Carolina is just
as smart as he was.
I: How about the uniform of our prison system here in the Tarheel State,
do you think it's pretty much the same whichever prison you're in?
S: It's pretty much the same. Everybody has rules and regulations to go
by ih^ic p l (-t1 C-, and we have to follow these things. And
all prison units are about the same way.
I: Uh, course, this again is asking you for your opinion and maybe you
wouldn't have any way of knowing, but do you have any idea how people in
your field of work in other states feel about us here in North Carolina--
do they think we're going too far, do they applaud us generally, or what...?
S: Yes sir, I don't know, I haven't talked to anybody out-of state, I don't know
quite what their feelings are....
I: I think every state is pretty much an entity in itself, and I just
happened to be thinking about the state of California a few years ago was
very active in trying to do away with capital punishment, and I think they
reversed that and went in another direction since then, perhaps. How
about capital punishment in this state, how do you feel about that?--if
you wouldn't mind giving us your opinion. I have asked you for your
opinion, if you don't mind.
S: Uh, Id rather not comment on that right now, sir.
I: I certainly understand. Uh, there are some things that used to be
practiced in prison camps everywhere that hopefully aren't being prac-
ticed today. Some of them might not have been practiced really then,
for instance, there used to be stories about when guards get a prisoner
they start giving them saltpeter and stuff like this to keep their
S: Well, I've heard this, but I've been in the Department of Corrections
twelve year--going on twelve year--and if I ever saw this saltpeter, I
don't know anything about it.
I: (laughs) Well, it probably never was as widely practiced as it was
believed to be. And there was a time when it wasn't unusual at all to
have strappings and this sort of...people called'em strappings, I guess
that's just usine a belt on somebody.
S: Yes sir. I can remember the doctor at the unit I used to work at, said
he remembered the ast man who was whipped. He say he never knew one to
get whipped twice. They would whip'em, they used to have a man out there
at Raleigh to come by and they'd whip'em.
I: But this is a certain person assigned to this kind of duty...?
S: I don't know whether just one person was assigned or not...it was back
before my days--back probably when I was born, when all this was going on.
Uh, used to be _T_-_ c punishment in the Department back twenty,
twenty-five, thirty years ago,.but they've gone away from this now.
I: The practice now seems to be deprive a man of certain privileges that
he could have today, it's like an interpretive--in other words, in the
sense of putting him on his own, you say "Now you can keep these priv-
ileges or you can throw'em away."
S: Right, sir.
I: Do you think it works better this way?
S: Yes, sir, if his conduct (is not beme-ohis .gde stature' some
of hs privileges are taken away from him.
I: This seems to be incorporating both kinds of behavior control--punishment
and reward combined...
S: Right, sir.
I: ...I like this, because some people advocate one and some the other, but
with both combined it seems that this should be most effective. What do
you think the men who come here, what do you think they're hard...most
difficult problem is to overcome? I'm not talking about a man who comes
habitually, but say, a man who comes inthe first time and is trying to
get adjusted, you know, comply with the rules...?
S: His biggest problem would be being confined, being supervised--everything
he was doing. The men are supervised here twenty-four hours a day.
I: The loss of a man's liberty, then, is very important to him no matter
where he is.
S: Right. Right.
I: Do you ever have people crack up under...?
S: Yes sir, we have a few once in a while to crack up. We have to send
these people to Raleigh.
I: Do you think a lot...much of the stress that they undergo simply comes
from the realization that they are in prison, and maybe this is something
S: Most of the time, he has had a mental breakdown before, before he was ever
in the Department of Corrections. Just being confined around these bunch
of-men, sometimes his-nerves just won't take it and,he just breaks down
I: I've never been in prison, and I doubt very much that you ever have--I
mean as an inmate. But it seems to me that..............................
This is side two of the interview with Sgt. Stone. Sgt. Stone, when our
tape ran out on the other side over there, we were talking something
about the possibility of self-discipline among the men, and I was sort
of comparing it to my experiences in boot camp when the sergeant would
come up and say, "Well, now, if one of these guys does something, all of
you may suffer for it, so you better see that he doesn't do it, or you
better do something about it yourselves for your.own good." .And.I believe
S: Yes sir, it used to be the same way in the prison department back in.the
old days, you know. I've heardAold people talking. If a man kept messing
up aid messing up, they would buy or give the other inmates a little some-
thing, they'd say, "Take care of that man, wise him up." And in a few
days he man would be wised up. They'd be:.taking him around behind a
building somewhere and/wising him up. Well, this don't occur in the
prison department anymore--in the Department of Corrections, rather.
I: The supervision is better, and...
S: You got better supervision, uh...
I: ...and maybe better, would you say, better trust...?
I: ...between--better working rapport between the officers and the inmates?
S: Right, right, sir.
I: I didn't mean to interrupt anything you wanted to say.
S: But you didn't.
I: If there was something you wanted to change about the correctional
institutions in this state, or any other, for that matter...have you
ever thought about it? What would you like to see changed?
S: Il ven't never really given it very much thought. Like I say, North
Carolina's about number one or number two in the nation, and it's hard
to change something like that.
I: It certainly is. I'm certainly glad that we do deal with men on human
terms, that we have faith in humanity. And you've been very kind and
very helpful to give us this interview. And this is going to help
tremendously. It will help people, as we say, in the outside world to
better understand the workings of our men who are confined.
S: Right, sir.
I: And maybe it will further the matter of education. I'm sure that people
who are not directly connected with a state institution should be at
least informed enough that they'd know how to feel about it and discuss
it intelligently--maybe even make certain recommendations to their
friends and to those who they would like to reach and that sort of thing.
You certainly have been very helpful and you've been very kind in granting
us iis interview. I want to thank you and I want to thank the entire
institution for the fine cooperation you've given us here this week. For
the Doris Duke Foundation, and for the University of Florida's History
Department, we would like to thank you very much.
S: Yes sir, glad to be of help to you.