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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Lieutenant Rucious Hunt (H)
North Carolina State Department of Corrections
Lumberton, North Carolina
Interviewer: Lew Barton (I)
June 13, 1973
Typed by: Paula Whidden
I: This is June 13, 1973. I am Lew Barton interviewing for the University
of Florida's History Department and the Doris Duke Foundation's American
Indian Oral History Program. Today we are in Lumberton, North Carolina,
at the North Carolina State Department of Public Corrections, Robeson
County Unit. And with me today is a gentleman from the staff here who
has been here quite a while. Sir, would you tell us your name?
H: Lieutenant Rucious Hunt.
I: We certainly appreciate your giving us this interview and telling us
something about your institution and its history, its operations, how
long you've been with it, something about yourself. First of all, let's
talk a little bit about you. How long have you been here, sir?
H: Seven years in July. It'll be seven years next month.
I: That's a good long time. You certainly are to be commended for the
tremendous job you've been doing here. I've heard a number of people
comment favorably about you.
H: Thank you, sir.
I: Are you married?
H: Yes, sir. I'm married and have two children.
I: Who did you marry?
H: Geraldine Locklear.
I: Who were her parents?
H: Her father was John D. Locklear, a farmer from the Lumberton area.
I: Uh-huh. And how old are your children?
LUM 120A 2
H: I have a boy four years old this past May, I mean, right; and one seven
years old this past March.
I: Would you mind giving us their names and ages?
H: The oldest one, Elliot Patrick Hunt, and the youngest, Marlon Rucious Hunt.
I: That's a nice-sized family to have in these days of high prices. Two chil-
dren--you can be thankful you don't have nine like I. Do you enjoy working
H: Yes, I do. It's really fulfilling to me. The longer I stay the better I
like it. At first I had no idea I'd be here this long.
I: Uh-huh. This was originally an institution where only Lumbee Indian in-
mates were confined, is this right, am I right there?
H: That's correct.
I: But now you have an integrated institution, of all three races?
H: That's right.
I: You don't know the number offhand, do you? I imagine they fluctuate from
time to time.
H: Yes, sir. We don't actually keep a count of different races. Of course,
their numbers reflect what race they are--their prison number. But we don't
keep a count of each race. But the majority here now is Lumbee Indians.
I: Right. You don't know how many inmates you have in all?
H: Today we have 211. It-runs anywhere from 210 to 220 on any given day.
I: Uh-huh, with the majority being Lumbee Indian inmates. I imagine they're
pretty thankful about this because this isn't too far from home, is it?
H: That's right. They all live in the area here.
H: Some far as (Hoke?) County.
I: Uh-huh. Do you have a certain class of prisoner that you keep? I mean,
LUM 120A 3
you know, people guilty of misdemeanors of whatever. I don't know the
correct legal terms.
H: Yes, we have'em. Well, the felon, which is long-term people, and we have
misdemeanors too. Most units just is either a felon unit or a misdemeanor
unit. Here we have both.
I: I see. Do you have any what they call "lifers"?
H: Yes, we have a numberof those, but they'll usually have pulled a few
years before we get them down here. They'll have been a while in close
custody, which is Raleigh or Odum Farm.
I: I'm wondering if there's any kind of arrangement, you know, in the state
whereby this is made possible, you know, to have as many of the people
near home as possible. I think it's great that they can he near home.
Do you have a special arrangement with the state officials about this,
H: Yes, sir, we do. That's one reason why most of the Indian inmates in
the state are right in this county because most of them's from this
county, and of course, the state tries to put a man as close his home
as possible. The majority of the inmates, white and black, are from
this area too.
I: Well, that's certainly encouraging. I've noticed myself the past few
years--well, in quite a number of yearsjsince I've been working with
newspapers--that the state of North Carolina has taken some very con-
structive steps in the field of correction, and we're all pretty proud
of that. And we've made some definite improvements over the prison
system of other states, I think. Do any of these changes come to mind
as we talk?
H: Yes. Our Community Volunteer Program is to a man to be eligible for
LUM 120A 4
a eight-hour pass and we got the weekend passes with the family visits,
and the-inmate that's meeting the requirements can go out for twenty-four
hours, and up to forty-eight hour weekend passes. So that's one of the
great changes we've had. Of course, we've got the Work Release, which
a few of the other states have, but most of them don't have it yet. So
that's one of the big changes we've made in the last ten years, I'd say.
I: Uh-huh. That's certainly very encouraging that we are making so many,
you know, improvements along these lines. I have talked to people from
some of the other states and some of them seem, in my opinion, to be away
H: Yeah, we have inmates that's pulled time all over the country, and just
about every one of them say he'd rather be here than anywhere he'd been,
you know. We've had'em pull out time in Nevada, California, Mississippi--
all across the country. Seems so far we stack right up with the best of
them. They'd rather be here with the programs we have, instead of...
I: Well, that's certainly great. Do you think this is all due to the basic
difference of the conception today of correctional institutions. For
example, you know, in the old days it used to be a matter of punishment
more than correction. Would you say that's correct?
H: Yes, I would. It really is. Seemsto me, doing a lot more for'em now.
They're not so bitter as they was. I mean you can go out and talk to
them like you would somebody on the street, blindly. You just (sit
down "Come over here, let's talk man to man" you know. -_St J
%*"- the problems as.far as-the staff-here is concerned, it makes better
working conditions and everything, for us too.
I: Your emphasis,then, is on rehabilitation, isn't it?
H: Yes, sir, that's correct.
LUM 120A 5
I: You try to fit these men in some way so that they will go back into
society and be successful citizens in a number of ways, I'm sure. Is
H: Yes, sir. That's our goal here now.
I: Do you know how old this institution is? It seems that it's been here
as long as I can remember, do you know the exact...?
H: No, I don't. I don't know how long it's been here. If I'm not mistaken
it was changed to an Indian prison in 1952. Of course, you'll probably
interview the captain after a while, and he was one of the first guards
that was ever hired here when the employees moved in here. He could
probably tell you...
I: Is that Mr. Alva?
H: (Alvie!) Oxendine.
I: Alvie Oxendine.
H: He could probably tell you a whole lot of the history of this place.
I: I had a fine interview with him one time concerning one of the prisoners,
I believe, or something as I remember a few years ago. He's a very won-
derful person and seems to...all the prisoners have great respect for
H: Sure do.
I: I used to come here to the church that was built here. Is this a complete
H: Yes, it is.
I: This was built here under the influence of the late Miss Mary Livermore,
is that right?
H: That's right.
I: That last name is spelled L-i-v-e-r-m-o-r-e. Insert a footnote here: Miss
LUM 108A 6
Mary Livermore, the daughter of the late R. W. Livermore, and a brother
too, Mr. R. H. Livermore, worked for many years as head of the religious
education department at Pembroke State University. And for her, the Pem-
broke State University library was named, wasn't it?
I: Do you think she had the respect of all three races? Would you characterize
Miss Mary that way;as we all called her?
H: Yes, she did. She...as far as I can hear, the old-timers here and every-
thing, that she was a real wonderful person and everybody seemed to have
a whole lot of respect for her.
I: As I remember, she was a Missionary Baptist leader. Well, it's very
difficult to remember her without feeling very sad that she's passed on
some years ago, but she seems to have touched the prison in a number of
ways, and always for good.
H: That's right.
I: I remember coming over here with her and the prisoners would ask her to
do special little things for them outside, and of course, nobody ever
questioned that because Miss Mary was a person who never did anything
wrong that anybody knew about it.
H: That's right.
I: How is the church going now?
H: Well, it's, uh,.going real good. We just got throughwith a revival
back in May, it held for a week. Reverend Woods was in charge of it,
I: Was that Reverend Harold Woods?
H: Right. Pembroke...yes, sir. They think it was a big success out here.
I: That's great. I imagine that religion comes to be very important to many
LUM 120A 7
of the prisoners as they're confined year after year. Is this generally
the picture, do you think?
H: Well, yes. There's some of them...I was talking to one this past Sunday
night that left here in '59, and I think he's a minister now. And we have
a few cases like that. Some of them gets a lot of good out of it, the
churchwork. Well, you know, some of them (wouldn't out there and are
in here so it plays a big part here.
I: Of course, you have all...all your inmates are male, aren't they?
H: Yes, sir. We have all inmates. Now, up back in the regional office, we
have two trailers and there's nine women inmates up there. I don't know
if you were aware of that or not...
I: No, sir, I wasn't.
H: That was just brought down, just before Christmas I think they were
brought down. All the ladies are on Work Release Program.
I: Yes, sir. They help out with the staff work and office work and things
of this nature?
H: No, they're working over in town in the mills. Some of them are office
girls, some work in the mill sewing rooms, and stuff like that. All of
them are making a salary just like the women in the streets.
I: Oh, I see. Maybe we should explain what Work Release Programs mean,
because some of the people who will hear this tape or read it may be in
other states and they might not understand what it means--they might not
have such a program in their states. Would you mind explaining that to
H: Yes. The Work Release Program is a program where the inmates go out and
work on the regular jobs during the day and they're housed here at night
or when their shift...when they're not working. They go straight to work
and back, with the same opportunities for raises and stuff as the people
LUM 120A 8
they're working with. And they take this money for the support of their
families, they pay room and board here and transportation fees. Some of
them ride with people in the streets--according to where they're working
at. But mostly they use the money the same way they would if they was
outside. They get ten dollars for themselves each week. If anything's
left over, it's kept for them until they're released.
I: Well, this is a help to the state, isn't .it?
H: Very definitely so. They keep their families off of welfare and every-
thing. Some of them makes a lot more money than the staff do here.
I: Well, there's some lucky guys in any outfit, I guess. I'm not one of
those lucky ones very often, I'm afraid. Have you ever had any com-
plaints or discontent or murmuring and that sort of thing? IVhaven't
heard of anything. I'm just wondering in comparison with other prisons.
I know at Central Prison in Raleigh, there was an incident several years
ago that was pretty serious, but I've never heard of such an incident
at the institution here.
H: Well, I guess the reason for this is the Central Classifications Com-
mittee. Each new felon that comes into the system, he'll go through
there and they'll screen him out. Potential dangerous people,they just
keep there until they're interviewed again. So by the time we get them,
they either pulled enough of their sentence so they'll go ahead and try
to make the best of it, or something on this sort. But a troublemaker,
which we do run into sometimes here--we had a guard killed here about
three years ago--but these type of people are kept in close security
which is in Raleigh. We're a medium custody. There's minimum, medium,
close security and maximum, and we are medium.
LUM 120A 9
I: I see. Well, I hate to make comparisons between races or anything-like
that, so don't answer this unless you want to--don't answer anything un-
less you want to. But do you find that our--when I say "our" I mean the
Indian prisoners--rank pretty good in conduct with the other two races?
H: Well, I don't know, it might sound a little prejudiced-like, but it's
really not. It might be maybe that I understand them better as a race,
but I don't have any trouble with them)as much so as I do the other ones,
now. But, like again I say now it might be that I understand them better
or they'll do more for me than they would for somebody else, but as
whole, I get along a lot better with them. Of course, they don't have no
serious trouble with any of them. It's just the little things you get to
watch after here a while, you know.
I: Um-hmm. Do you think something like this might work equally well among
other groups, you know, say if the black prisoners had--you know, in
prisons which are predominantly black or predominantly white--if they had
people who are a little closer to them in an ethnic sense?
H: I definitely do. I know it would, because we have black officers and white
officers here, but like I said, mostly Indians, but they don't run in no
big problems, but I can see the white inmates go to the white officers and
the black go to the black, you know. I guess they feel more at ease with
them, which is the reason I said thatowhile ago, the reason I don't think
nobody here is prejudiced against none of them, but they seem to get along
better with their own kind.
I: Right. Well, I think that's quite a natural thing. I would think it would
be an advantage in dealing with people that you're trying to help and an
institution is, as we've already pointed out, is trying to help and to re-
habilitate instead of just punish.
LUM 120A 10
I: And that certainly fits in well with the new concept.
H: Right. I've heard officers make the statement around, say, "We used to
have it made. I could see a man walk across the yard and I could about
tell you what he would do" and all this--a lot of the people you knew and
everything. Now it's changed up a lot. There's not as much trust here as
there was, and that's the reason really I...maybe it's got a good advantage
or not, but I just can't picture right now where it's helped a whole lot
towards the rehabilitation of the inmates.
I: It seems to me to be in a position like yours, you would have to be--or at
least you would develop it over the years--a good judge of human character.
You can look at a guy and you can tell maybe a few things about him right
away, or am I just imagining that this is so?
H: No, you're not imagining. You can talk to them and you can pretty well
quickly tell if he's telling you the truth or just trying to play up to
you to get something he wants himself, you know. It don't take you for-
ever to learn that here. It's hard for a new officer to know all these
things until he's been what we call here, get "hung on a snag".
I: Well, have the...of course you have to.have a certain amount of discipline and
you have to have some punishment on them in a system like this, you know,
to carry on with everyday activities. Have any of your methods of dealing
with prisoners--you know, along disciplinary lines--have they changed too
since you've been here?
H: Yes, sir. They've really changed a lot. When I came to work here, if a
man had a major infraction against him, I he was brought out to the office
and a couple or maybe three staff members here would try him. The majority
of the time they'd find him guilty. He was put into the segregation
unit for thirty days--up to thirty days--and he was put on a special diet.
It was prepared in Raleigh, the diet was. It was some kind of ground-up
LUM 120A 11
something, just opened and poured in his plate. He'd get that twice a
day. Well, now they've changed it to before a man can be sent in to this
segregation unit, he goes before a disciplinary committee made up of three
officers from three different units--not his home unit here. And if he's
found guilty he'll go to segregation for a major...he can go to the segre-
gation unit for one to fifteen days--that was cut in half. His diet out
there is the same as the regular diet in the kitchen. It's not cut any
way at all. The old dog food trick--that's been cut out. The time has
been cut in half. So that's a change, I'd say it was changed fifty percent
because it's been cut in half--more than that because they don't eat the
old special diet what they used to have.
I: I see. Now, the unit you call the segregation unit, is this the unit that
inmates, you know, in the old days used to refer to as the "hole"?
H: That's correct. They still call it the hole. What it is on our unit here
is four cells segregated out by itself from the main dormitories. And it's
four cells, they got a bunk in thbre and a lavatory and a commode, and
they're just out by themselves, actually. It's not "the hole" in that
sense of the word, but they still call it the hole, but actually it's a
I: In other words, he's in solitary confinement. I imagine this is about the
most extreme punishment you have, isn't it?-
H: Yes, sir. It is. That's the extreme i rt i-ht- fifteen days
I: When you have a prisoner who violates some law or maybe some rule'of the
prison camp, do you try him here or does he get a regular trial like any-
body else, or do you have a special group of officers who deal with him
in the prison, maybe? And if it's a violation of the state law outside
LUM 120A 12
the prison camp, is that handled a little bit differently? I'm just
wondering, I don't know much of anything about it. I may be asking some
pretty dumb questions, but I think our listeners would like to know, and
H: Well, it's not dumb questions. But if he violates a state law he still
comes under the sheriff or the county and everything. If he commits
crime, if he commits assault on another inmate, the inmate has the right
to take him through the court of law. And if he...any crime he's committed
for he's liable for. Now, if he breaks a department rule is the time when
we try him here--like if he's caught not working, being disrespectful--
that's a prison rule he breaks and the disciplinary committee here handles
I: I see.
H: But if he happened to be on a pass or something and breaks a law out there,
well he comes under that law, and a warrant will be issued for him by the
I: How about your visiting? Do you have regular visiting days?
H: Yes, sir, we do. It used to be twice a month, every second and third Sun-
days, a few years back. Now they visit every Sunday and all holidays.
I: That's great. I know they appreciate that.
H: Yeah. And if they got bad weather, we got a place for them to visit now.
Used to, if it was bad weather, the folks couldn't stand on the fence out
here. Well, they'd just have to miss that day.
I: You know, it's always been fascinating to me, the people who work in prison
camps--the guards, the officers and so on. Can you recall any incidents
in which you were...well, I think I'd be frightened to death on occasion.
Can you think of any incidents, have you had any experiences you'd like
to tell us about? You wouldn't have to use names unless you wanted to.
LUM 120A 13
H: Well, I had one. I was working the morning an officer got killed down
here, and I happened to be working back in the kitchen. And I was the
only officer on duty except one more that didn't get locked up, hostage
and stuff. So when I realized what was going on...when I realized later
what had happened, I got scared.
I: That was after it was over.
H: Right, because one officer was killed and the others, one was kidnapped,
one sergeant was kidnapped--took as a hostage, had to go with them. And
after it was over with, it shook me up a little. But other than that,
I've been in fights, broke up fights and stuff, and it hasn't bothered
me a whole lot. You just begin to learn to expect trouble like that,
but it's not as bad as it was when I come here.
I: Does Mr. Plummer Locklear still live here with you?
H: He retired. Now, you know he had a tumor removed from his brain and one
from his lungs, so he hadn't come back to work;
I: Oh, that's too bad. I hadn't heard about that. I haven't quite a while
and I was wondering just what the story was on him.
H: He got sick all at once, there, and he still...he had (enough of sick
time going up?) he's still on the payroll, but he won't be coming
back to work.
I: How about the pay? Is it any better now than it used to be?
H: Yeah, they're coming along with it. Like, seven years ago when I started
it was three hundred and forty-four dollars a month. And I think that
officers start at five ninety-seven now. They're bringing it up. You
get a raise every year--automatic raise--for three years, then you're
recommended for three years before you reach the top.
I: That's good. I have always thought that the pay wasn't good enough in
LUM 120A 14
any of the occupations of the state, or factories...
H: They still got a long ways to go.
I: But I'm glad we're making improvements in that direction, too. Doesn't
the governor or anybody from the state capitol come around?
H: The governor's never been here, but Mr. Davy Jones--head of the Department
of Social Rehabilitation--he's been down. Mr. (Bound?) in charge of
adult inmates, he's been down quite often. So we get some of the wheels
from Raleigh here every once in a while.
I: That's good.
H: I think the last governor in here was Governor Dan Moore, he did come by
I: Was it on a special occasion?
H: I think he was trying to get elected then.
I: Oh, me. Well, that's the time that politicians usually show up any place,
I guess. I guess that's true all over. They will be politicians...
How about...you know, you must have special problems with men who are con-
fined, week by week--surely not as many now as you did before you had the
Work Releases and other programs more freely with their families and so
on. But, uh...as I recall, you know, when I was in the Navy7-just speaking
from my own experience--just being out to sea maybe as much.as twelve weeks
at the time, not even seeing a woman. When I did see one, that was a
pretty big thing, and this was true with all the sailors. Do you have
any problems along those lines?
H: Well, before they started the passes and the home leaves and stuff, we
used to have a hell of...well, at this unit it wasn't never too big a
problem, but we did have a little problem with homosexuals. Of course,
if it's going on there now, nobody knows anything about it, because I
LUM 120A 15
think that pretty well cured that up--the passes and stuff. Of course,
we're not encouraging the "Community Volunteers" or anything like this,
but, you know, a man do get a twenty-four hour pass with his wife and
a forty-eight hour pass with his family, you know. And it's helped
kept a lot of families together, too, here.
I: I'm sure it has. I imagine the homosexual problems you've had have been
problems mostly not of real homosexuals, but people who are just pretty
desperate for sexual expression or maybe something of this nature.
H: That's true.
I: Do you have a special way of handling somebody you know to be an overt
homosexual? Do you isolate them from the others or something of this
nature, just put the other guys on guard to watch out for'em7
H: That's about all we can do here is just be on the watchout for...what
we're mostly concerned with is keeping the attacks down, like somebody
forcing somebody, stuff like this. The other, we just try to watch out
for, that's about all we can do with what we have to work with right now.
Of course, this is an adult unit, and anybody under twenty-one years
old we try to put'em in the youth camps. Were not allowed to have like
a seventeen year old boy here--he's taken up to (Lillingtoni Unit,
youth centers, stuff like this. But this helps a lot, we don't have a
whole lot of problems with that.
I: Well, that's good. I know in the old days sometimes there would be com-
plaints about different--not here, necessarily--that younger prisoners
were kept around with older ones who were perhaps wiser in the ways of
these matters. I'm glad it's different now. Something can be done
about all these things. T (L. i U
H: Yes, it's really helped a loty Of course, when I came
LUM 120A 16
to work with the prison department, they were segregating the younger
fellows at that time. Of course, we still get a youthful offender some-
times, but usually we try to pick a man that's big enough to take care
of himself and everything and we won't have any problem like that with
I: If somebody makes a pass at one of these big husky guys, they may need
some help, right?
H: Right, right. Well, as I say, we just don't have much of that problem
now at all.
I: That's good. They used to be a lot of rumors, you know, about any prison
camp that prisoners had to be given saltpeter and this sort of thing...
H: [laughs] I believe ltJC r C '1>h have to do that.
I: Oh, boy. You know, I read an article once that said that this is some-
thing that used to be done but wasn't done anymore. But all these con-
tacts with the outside world also help a man to be better prepared when
he gets out, don't they?
H: Yes, sir. Sure does. As I said before, a long-termer wouldn't be getting
a pass, but as he works himself on like ten percent of his sentence, he's
eligible for honor-grade, and then if he's promoted in honor-grade, then
he's eligible for home visits. And also, let's see, after fifteen percent
of his time he's eligible for the Work Release Program--unless the court
recommends him and he's got a sentence under five years, he can be put
work the next day after he gets to prison, after he's processed in here.
If a man wants to now, he can make it in prison all right. We even got
schooling--we got an inmate here now going to Pembroke State University,
and we've had three or four more at different times. We've got six stu-
dents in rAi (U'P(t\ Robeson Technical Institute.
I: Hey, that's great. I didn't know that. That's really great.
LUM 120A 17
H: We have basic education classes. Here, we have a class in the morning
and one in the afternoon. We've got a sewing machine class, and we have
had a brick mason class, and small appliances classes. We're in the pro-
cess now of getting a new classroom where we can do a little more.
I: That's good. I...Miss Mary Livermore we mentioned a while ago--I've been
over here with her on some occasions to teach adult classes. They've
got it better organized, but that's been many years ago. You've got
it better organized now and everything, haven't you?
H: Yes, we do. We have instructors from Robeson Technical Institute--two
ladies, one teaches in the morning and one in the afternoon. Right now
we hold the classes in the chapel, but we're going to get a six-room
building so we'll really be able to do a little better job. We had
quite a few fellows that couldn't read and write, they learn to read
and write letters home and stuff like this here. We've had quite a
few that finished high school here--I mean, finished enough to take
G.E.D. test, we've had quite a few that graduated that way.
I: Since you mentioned letter-writing, how often can a prisoner write
H: They can write anytime now, I mean every day if they want to. Used to,
I think it was three times a week or two times a week. ___ ___ o_ J.
They were just a couple of times a week if I'm not mistaken. And, too,
they used to be...let's see, it's been two years ago, they were allowed
five dollars a week if their folks wanted to give it to them, now they
can have ten. So they've helped them out a little bit that way.
I: And that'll take care of all their needs, won't it?
H: Yes, sir.
I: Just about the only thing they would need money for here would be maybe
cigarets, or how about toilet articles?
LUM 120A 18
H: Toilet articles. If they don't have money, we've got a firm where we
give it to them for the necessities like toothbrush, toothpaste, razor
I: Well, that's certainly wonderful. It's certainly a great progress report.
I'm very happy about it. I've always had an interest in this institution.
I believe it's unique in the state, maybe even in the:,nation, and I know
you've always had good personnel here, somebody who can work closely with
inmates. I'm certainly glad to talk with you and to learn of all these
things. How about when a man is discharged, you know, the conventional
thing or the traditional thing used to be, I believe, to give them...he
would leave with a maybe a suit of clothes and.five dollars or something
H: Yes,Aa fifteen dollar check and a suit of clothes.
I: Of course, we have inflation now.
H: Well, there's very few leaves like that now. We try to get a man on
Work Release and get him some money so he's not going on the street com-
pletely broke, you know. So if he tried to get along any way at all, we
try to get him on Work Release, if his time is coming up to get out so
he'll have some money when he gets out. (If he has lucks he'll
have from four thousand to five thousand dollars.
I: He's better off than I am.
H: Not many, but some is lucky, get on Work Release Program and -CV tOL
That's cut down on the tax-payer, too, on that suit of clothes and fifteen
I: Yes, sir. They being able to earn money, the state doesn't have to give
H: No, that state...when they've been on Work Release and everything they
LUM 120A 19
don't give them anything because they already got it. The ideal of the
fifteen dollars and the suit of clothes was to at least get them home
before, and now that they're able to do it themselves, you know...
I: Do you have any trouble with people smuggling whiskey into the camp, or
marijuana, or anything like this?
H: Well, we've suspected of drugs being out there different times. In fact,
we have got people in under the influence of something or other. Some-
times a fellow will come in off a pass and he'll be under the influence
of whiskey. But it's not a big problem, very seldom, because they know
what they can lose by coming in like that, you know. It's not really a
problem, but with the passes and stuff now, it's easier for them to
smuggle drugs in. But, as I say, as of yet, it hasn't been too big of
I: Do you have to frisk them when they come back into camp, or anything like
H: Yes, they are frisked at the gate before they enter. Of course, you'll
never know how they smuggle all the things, but they got ways of doing
some little things--they couldn't get in something too big, you know,
but maybe they can hide it outside and pick it up later, throw it across
the fence, something like this. Really, if a man wanted to smuggle some-
thing in, it wouldn't be too hard, actually, not in a unit like this.
I: It's been my understanding that the drug problem is something that we
just haven't had very much of in this county, unless it's been within
recent--very recent--years, as more people come in to Henry Clay Univer-
sity and other places from outside. I imagine we have a good many people
who don't even know yet what marijuana is, or something like this. Of
course we couldn't hope to remain free, completely free of it forever.
LUM 120A 20
H: A good many of them wouldn't even know it, or pills or anything else
S') inmate population c never even seen it. But we've
got some out there full time for drugs and most of them are from the
Fayetteville area. The onliest one we have is from out of this county.
Maybe...we have had some from this county, but I can't think of any
right off. Most of that's Fayetteville, and we have a student out
there from Pembroke State University now, he was caught with drugs.
But, actually, he's from this county, though, but I think he was a
Vietnam veteran and that's where he got the contact for the drugs over
there and just (tookQ) the habit of it. Going to college, and he
finally got caught and we got him here now.
I: Maybe I ought to state here that we've-got a thunderstorm going on
outside. You probably can hear that on the tape recorder..............
Side Two of the first interview at the prison camp on June 13, 1973.
Sir, I would like to ask you if you would, could you give us some of
the rules, or maybe all of the rules if you feel like it...if you wouldn't
mind telling us some of the rules you operate under here on the prison
H: I'll give you a list of the minor rule violations we have here. The in-
mate can be tried for a minor offense. Failing to keep living quarters
in the proper condition. Personal untidiness. Feigning physical or
mental illness for the purpose of avoiding work. Neglecting, failing
to perform assigned duties, or performing them in a capable-manner.
Possessing contraband. Constituting a threat of escape or danger of
violence. Willfully disobeying or failing to obey properly and promptly
a lawful order. Unauthorized bartering or trading. Misuse of prison
supplies. Gambling. Disorderly conduct. Using offensive language.
LUM 120A 21
Agitating. Failing to go to bed when lights are dimmed. Damaging,
destroying or losing prison property. Violating the censorship regu-
lations, trying to mail out letters:that-hadn't come through the office--
of course, now that rule is not in effect as much as it was, because we
don't have to censor the mail when it goes out now. It has to come
through the office, but we don't have to censor it--they can seal it up
and everything now. And a list of the major violations ....Directing
towards any state official or any prison staff member language that is
considered profane, or any kind of gesture or act that he might make
towards you, you know--point a finger in some way. Possessing funds
in a form other than authorized, which I said awhile ago was ten dollars.
Now, any amount over that would be a major offense. Participating in
a riot. Seizing or holding a hostage, or in any manner unlawfully
detaining any person against his will. Committing assault upon the
person of another with a deadly weapon, or any means likely to produce
bodily injury. Unauthorized possession or control of any weapon or
any instrument that could be used by the inmate to effect an escape,
or to aid him in assault or riot. Making, drinking, or possessing alcoholic
beverages, or possessing, using or, selling narcotic drugs. Exchanging
articles of clothing or possession of unauthorized clothing, which is
another one we have to lighten up on because of the passes. When they
go out on passesA they are authorized A the civilian clothes. When
they come in, we got a storage room where they keep their clothes, now.
They still...and the inmates on Work Release, they're authorized to wear
civilian clothes. So we don't pay a whole lot of attention toAclothing
now, because so many here *.. __. Offering or accepting a bribe.
Stealing. Committing any sexual...committing, soliciting or inciting
LUM 120A 22
others to commit any sexual -Ct Escaping, attempting to escape,
or aiding other inmates to escape or attempt to escape. Willfully damaging,
destroying or losing state property, or property belonging to another.
And, of course, if a man escapes, he's tried in court for that. On the
first escape, a misdemeanor, he can get from three to one years in prison.
First escape or attempt by a felon inmate, he can get from six months to
two years. The second escape by a felon, he can receive from six months
to three years in prison. Of course, the first that was given was the
minor offenses. The punishment for a minor offense would be to get a
warning, a reprimand, suspend one or more privileges--such as.if he's
going on pass or he can get suspended of canteen privileges and his visiting
privileges for a certain amount of time. He can be assigned to extra
duties, and if he's honor-grade inmate you can reduce him to an A-grade,
which is a medium custody. For a major offense which has been determined
by the unit superintendent or the disciplinary board that's trying him,
you can give him one or more Sunday on lock-up, reduction in grade, con-
finement in segregation facilities on regular diet--this says "special
diet" but this is an old book here, the special diet's gone now. Loss
of part or all gametime earned by previous good conduct. A specified
period without-gameAtime credit for good conduct. We also have the
right to hear him for appeal if he's tried on a major infraction. He
can appeal it on up through the channels all the way to Raleigh, just
like civilian courts.
I: Well, those don't seem too harsh to me.
H: No, they're really not. It's real easy to live by them. We try to give
each man a little rule booklet as he comes into the Department, and there's
no reason for him not knowing when he's committed one of these infractions.
LUM 120A 23
I: Right, and sort of test'em to see if they've read their books?
H: Well, I don't know. The word gets around good out there. You can ask
most any of them about an infraction and he'll know more about it than
I: If he starts to break a rule without knowing it, somebody'd be pretty
apt to tell him about it re'. ?
H: That's right, right. He'd pretty well know he was in the wrong. If
there's any doubt in anybody's mind, these disciplinary boards and things
we have set up here, they're not just throwed together to punish the
inmates. A lot of times they turn them loose. And if it's not carried
out right, the inmate can actually take you to court for it. If you
punish him when he didn't need punishing and he can prove it...so we
have to do it in a professional manner, not just something throwed
I: Right. I wanted to ask you about mental cases. Do you have some mental
cases which come in, which develop...do you have much of a problem here?
H: Well, it's not too big of a problem, but we do have it. We have them
come in here...in fact we got an inmate about Christmas time that spent
ten years in Dorothy Dix hospital--that's a mental hospital--before he
was ever tried, before he was capable of being tried. So he's still got
a problem, but he's just well enough he can take care of himself. Of
course, he's still on the medicationS we have several that's on medication,
and every once in a while we have to send one back into Raleigh if we
think he's getting a little too far out. But we have several that has had
mental problems--some of them gets along good and some of them goes back
every once in a while. They're taken back to Raleigh for treatment.
I: Do you have a problem much with people who feign illness--you know, pre-
LUM 120A. 24
tend to be sick whether they are or not in order to escape work and this
sort of thing, or is that at a minimum?
H: Well, we have had problems with it, and still seems to be a little more
right now than before. The reason that is that we used to have doctors
that would come out to the unit and check the men and see if they was
sick. And if they were pretendingAsick and they wasn't, it was a major
offense. But it's kind of hard to get these people to a doctorAand every-
thing, course you learn these sick people after a while. We get them to
the doctor if they say they's sick.
I: Hard for anybody to get a doctor right now.
H: It sure is. We have a nurse that comes by twice a week, and if there's
one that she thinks should see a doctor, well, we send him up to the doc-
tor. We got a doctor up in (Kwankkain0 the unit up there, you
know, the processing center, and we got the bus going up there twice a
week. If there's anybody that needs to see the doctor, we send him.
Of course, if there's an emergency, we can take him over to the hospital
in Lumberton, the emergency room.
I: What kind of recreational facilities do you have, if any? I mean, do
you have...besides going to church on Sunday and things like this, do you
have other things that they can do?
H: Yes, we have a basketball court, ping-pong table, T.V. in each dormitory.
And they got card games, dominoes, checkers, and we've always had a base-
ball team down here. We don't have one this year, but we do have a soft-
ball team. W4e ave a nice baseball diamond wheret.r ft CCQSJ\ j1 ] .
"-e- e. Last year, we was in the city league, softball league, and
we had a team that finished real high last year--I think about second place.
And our basketball team went to the finals last year.
LUM 120A 25
I: That's great. You know, just a couple of years ago--few years ago, I'd
say more than a couple--I used to hear this gospel singing group on radio
from the camp here. Do you have any group like this now?
H: Well, we don't have a group now, but we have had. Seems like all the ones
that was interested in singing have left already. Every once in a while
there'll spring up a little group. They get split up, you know, they move
I: This was a pretty great group. I mean, they sounded real good.
H: They say they -did have a real group here once. I can't recall the man's
name--I think...Tommy...? Somebody...
I: I don't remember now ___-_____L_ names. They were very good. I
listened to them quite often on radio. Well, it sounds like you've got
a very good program, and everything is functioning so well. I certainly
want to congratulate you and this entire institution--all the fine work
you've been doing. I haven't been around as often as I wanted to come,
but I've tried to stay in touch, you know, through newspaper reports and
things like this, talking to people occasionally. But you're certainly
to be congratulated on the fine work you're doing here at the institution.
I'm very proud of it myself.
H: Thank you, sir.
I: Is there anything you would like to add to what we've already covered?
H: No, I can't think of anything right now. I'd say it's been nice talking
to you, too.
I: I certainly appreciate it. I just would like to ask you just one more
,question and that is what advice would you give to people, our young
people, you know, some of whom may have committed an offense for the
first time--also to those who haven't committed one. That would be
LUM 120A 26
H: Well, I think they should, probably...like these children in school, if
they toured this place and see it, maybe that would help a lot, too. Then,
too, it's all got to start in the home. You can go pull their jackets out
and you can see where ninety percent of these fellows, their home life just
wasn't what it ought to be. Even the ones that we do cure some of them,
and we hope to do a better job in the future than what we have done. But
if they'll come here, if they do happen to come in to prison, if they'll
take advantage of what we got here, I think that they can realize their
mistakes and get a lot of help here.
I: I'm sure they can. Have you got any kind of figures...I mean, what figure
do you set for your goal, or do you have a figure that you try to reach,
some percentage of cases that you would call successful, that you successfully
reoriented them with society and rehabilitated them and they could go out
and take an active part as a citizen, qualify as a citizen and all that?
Do you have any statistics at all?
H: We do have, but I don't have them right handy here. Now, we have a...Mr.
Gary Sampling here, I think you'll in view if you haven't already, he'll
probably have all the figures for you.
I: Oh, that'll be great. He's.../ i .
H: Right. Fine young man, he's really working hard for this rehabilitation
thing. I hear him all the time talking about this one hundred percent
rehabilitation, I don't know if we'll ever reach it or not, but that's
what we're trying for.
I: Well, that's great, isn't it?
H: It sure is.
I: There's hope for that. Maybe you'll make it, let's say, during a month's
LUM 120A. 27
period, or during some particular period, anyway.
H: Right, maybe give us six months or something. like this.
I: Well, that would be great.
H: Well, it would be better than we've done, if we done it for six months.
We really have some deep-rooted problems.
I: As you say, most prisoners...I've always had a curiosity about-them. Do
you think most people who violate the law are people who have emotional
problems, maybe, or social problems, or as you said awhile ago, lack of
the right home environment, home training?
H: Yes, I think that we have, I'd say, eighty-five percent4is alcohol-connected.
They get out there and then just take a drink--they don't care what they do
then. That's our biggest problem. You take a guy that's been locked up
here five or six years. Time he gets out, he wants a drink of liquor.
Maybe I don't understand that myself, but usually that's what happens.
I: Especially if that's what put him here in the first place.
H: Right. I have seen people leave here that I'd almost stake my life on
that you would never see him again, and two months later he's right back
on broken parole or something. And I have seen some leave, I say, "Well,
I got my doubts about him." And he's get out and just as well stay there.
And it's just hard to tell. But you can tell...you can tell if you've
done any good for a man, there's just some kind of...you can sense it.IrcI
you know. But sometimes you miss.
I: Seems to be a changing in his attitude...
H: Right. His attitude changes. Used to have a lot of retainers from dif-
ferent states and stuff that...a man wouldn't care what he'd do here. He
knew he weren't going to make honor-grade and he knew he weren't going to
be eligible for these different programs and stuff. And if he had a federal
LUM 120A 28
(detainer against him, he just wouldn't care, you know, if/ej C
a man thefc get along. But they changed that now. The federal govern-
ment, they started putting notifications on it that you give the inmate the
same privileges of getting promoted and everything as everybody else. I've
seen them change overnight when that law was made. But it really helped
us out a lot. We've got an inmate now, a black inmate, that works in the
kitchen, we couldn't do nothing with him. Because he'd do just enough
to keep from getting wrote up, you know, and drag everything a-doing. And
this order came down, and he's alreadyAmade honor grade, and just all kind
of change in the world. So a lot of times these has a whole lot of bearing
on it. If a man knows he ain't going to get nothing, he don't care, you
know. If he thinks he's got a chance to be just like the rest of the in-
mates, then you can pretty well handle him.
I: Has a chance of helping himself.
H: Right. But it's one of the greatest things the federal government ever
did is change these detainer things for the inmate population.
I: I read a very interesting report a few years ago about--I believe it came
through the sheriff's office--relative to our people, the Indians of the
county. This report said that arrest for arrest, Indian people have fewer
arrests than either of the other two groups. What do you think about this?
Now, I asked somebody else about it and the remark was made, "Well, Lew,
your people don't commit as many offenses maybe as ours, but when they com-
mit one, it is an offense!" I just wondered if you had made any observations
along those lines. I'm doing a lot of stuttering today, looks like.
H: Well, that's what we have here now. Usually the Indian inmate...we got our
share of these little petty crimes, but I'm going to sort of agree with
this fellow that was talking to you. When they do something, they really
LUM 120A 29
do it up. That's about the way I find it.
I: They just don't bother with the little petty offenses tL10
I: I guess that would solve the mystery of the fewer arrests, right?
I: Well, I certainly do thank you so much for giving us this very enlightening
interview. It's been very helpful, and I know there aSu- a lot of people
who'll be interested, and you're very kind to give us this time cr(
interviews here. So, on behalf of the Doris Duke Foundation and the
University of Florida, thank you very much, sir. You've been very help-
H: Well, it's been real nice talking to you, and I hope I have, helped you.a
I: Thank you.