Citation
Interview with Robert Stone, June 14, 1973

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Robert Stone, June 14, 1973
Creator:
Stone, Robert ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Florida History ( local )
Lumbee Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Lumbee County (Fla.)

Notes

Funding:
This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Resource Identifier:
LUM 118A ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text






LUM 118A

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,

sir?

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.









LUM 118A


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








3
LUM 118A


certainly interested.

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?








4
LUM 118A


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

his pocket.

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.

S: Right.

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

much about...

S: Uh, I believe after two year you can get it reinstated.








5
LUM 118A


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

now.

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....








6
LUM 118A


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

officials?

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--








7
LUM 118A


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


/








8
LUM 118A


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








9
LUM 118A


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

now.








10
LUM 118A


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,

is it?

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

thing.

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...?








11
LUM 118A


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
'C^')
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

education school.

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








12
LUM 118A


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,








13
LUM 118A


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

time.

I: Do you think, by the way, that we've got too many guns around?








]4
LUM 118A


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








15
LUM 118A


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."......................








16
LUM 118A


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,

doesn't it?

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'm thirty-two.

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








17
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








18
LUM 118A


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

sexuality down.

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.








19
LUM 118A


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








20
LUM 118A


from the realization that they are in prison, and maybe this is something

that, uh...

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

again.

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

you were....

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...?








21
LUM 118A


S: Right.

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.





Full Text

PAGE 1

LUM 118A Sgt. Robert Stone (S) North Carolina State Department of Corrections Interviewer: Lew Barton (I) June 14, 1973 Typed by: Paula Whidden I: " C. . 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, sir? 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.

PAGE 2

2 LUM 118A 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

PAGE 3

3 LUM 118A certainly interested. 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 (pulled.) 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 responsibility. 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. 7C0 CUC A-"'-^ They learn how to take responsibility, they (lear 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?

PAGE 4

4 LUM 118A 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 his pocket. 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. S: Right. 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 much about... S: Uh, I believe after two year you can get it reinstated.

PAGE 5

5 LUM 118A 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 el-^'. rYr' c 1c.F know of, -f tstm to him while he was here, uh, he's a minister now. 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 themselves. I don't think that's in the Bible, but I believe it's true. And of 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....

PAGE 6

6 LUM 118A 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 officials? 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, lieutenants, 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--

PAGE 7

7 LUM 118A 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 understanding 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 /

PAGE 8

8 LUM 118A 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 Carolina 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

PAGE 9

9 LUM 118A ask you for an opinion. Don't give it,,unless you want to. Uh, some people) ri~a:? * r , t' ' " '" .5 ,^ .k et K f ' · ^ !t , ~ 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'\\' . 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 afternoon off, but not anymore, they only work i-hj3rt forty hours a week now.

PAGE 10

10 LUM 118A 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 remember 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, is it? 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. " .*. ( 'r S: Used to, when you went to a prison camp, the menjwould 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 thing. 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...?

PAGE 11

11 LUM 118A 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 (call?) 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-h-hm 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 education school. 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

PAGE 12

12 LUM 118A 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 h 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 X 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 meetingaabout 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,

PAGE 13

13 LUM 118A 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 time. I: Do you think, by the way, that we've got too many guns around?

PAGE 14

]4 LUM 118A 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 manAin 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

PAGE 15

15 LUM 118A 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 sir, 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 troublethis 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. Certainly 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 Apartment 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 hat he's capable of until he comes up against certain conditions." He sid, "I had no idea I could do that myself."......................

PAGE 16

16 LUM 118A 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, doesn't it? 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 childraising 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'm thirty-two. 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

PAGE 17

17 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 i|.,.h^ ^r SiC {CL , 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

PAGE 18

18 LUM 118A 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 practiced 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 sexuality down. 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 thelast 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 _l'!-_ punishment in the Department back twenty, twenty-five, thirty-years ago,.but-they've gone away from this now.

PAGE 19

19 LUM 118A 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 privileges or you can throw'em away." S: Right, sir. I: Do you think it works better this way? tbcec^t8> t r nree'f S: Yes, sir, if his conduct (is not beeome-ofhis ~=ade stature' some of is 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 inAthe 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

PAGE 20

20 LUM 118A from the realization that they are in prison, and maybe this is something that, uh... 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 again. 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 you were.... 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, thev would buy or give the other inmates a little something, they'd say, "Take care of that man, wise him up." And in a few days the 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...?

PAGE 21

21 LUM 118A S: Right. 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: Ihaven'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 ais 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.