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New warden named at Central Prison

Carlton Joyner, a longtime employee of the state’s prison system, has been named the new warden at Central Prison in Raleigh.

He replaces Kenneth Lassister, who was promoted in May to the position of central regional prison director.

Joyner has been the administrator at Harnett Correctional Institution in Lillington. He has risen through the ranks from correctional officer at Central Prison in 1984, and has worked at prisons in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

He was promoted to programs director for the entire system in 2004, and in 2010 took on the Harnett job. He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from N.C. Central University.

Central Prison has about 1,000 prisoners and a staff of 700. It holds the state’s execution chamber, a full-service hospital and a mental health unit.

Central Prison warden promoted

Central Prison warden Kenneth Lassiter has been promoted and given a 15 percent pay hike, the state Department of Public Safety announced Friday.

Lassiter was instrumental in embracing a new method of teaching correctional officers to defuse confrontations with mentally ill prisoners. The techniques have been taught to officers, nurses and others at Central Prison for the past several months.

His willingness to try new methods won the praise of advocates for the mentally ill.

But Lassiter was also named as one of 23 current or former prison employees named in a federal lawsuit earlier this year by eight prisoners who claim they were beaten by correctional officers while in a solitary confinement unit at the prison, according to The Associated Press.

Lassiter’s new role is director of the prison system’s central regional office, where he will oversee 12 prisons. His salary will increase from $70,390 to $80,948, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety said.

He replaces George Solomon, who was recently promoted to director of prisons.

Saturday roundup: Shanahan moonlighting, Ellmers faces uncertain future, public school advocates, more trouble at Central Prison

Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan still has some clients from his law firm, despite a full plate running a state agency.

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers was elected as an outsider. But she faces a competitive field if she runs for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan's seat in 2014.

Public school advocates form to stop legislative proposals they contend would undermine public education.

A federal lawsuit says 21 correctional officers at Central Prison beat handcuffed and shackled prisoners, The Associated Press reports.

1368286046 Saturday roundup: Shanahan moonlighting, Ellmers faces uncertain future, public school advocates, more trouble at Central Prison The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Death Row inmate responds to McCrory

A death row inmate singled out by Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory has responded.

At a recent debate, the Charlotte mayor said that the moratorium on the death penalty should be lifted, noting that the convicted killer of two Queen City police officers was still on death row.

"Listen, this is personal to me," McCrory said. "Two young police officers that were shot by one man with their gun, and this man has still not been dealt with even though a jury of his peers convicted him ... There's no reason we should have the moratorium right now."

At the debate, McCrory did not name the killer, Alden J. Harden, but he did name the police officers, Andy Nobles and John Burnette. Harden was sentenced to death in August of 1994 for the killings, which took place the previous October.

Contacted by Dome at Central Prison in Raleigh, he said in a handwritten letter that Charlotte police have killed "many unarmed young black men" in recent years.

"I am being dealt with," he wrote. "The moratorium is set to help make sure that more people like you and my so called peers don't take it 'personal' as well, but rather look at the law. Because everyone has a right to fight for themselves under the law."

He wrote that "there's every reason" to have a moratorium.

The full text of McCrory's remarks and Harden's response after the jump.

A new prison boss

Central Prison in Raleigh has a new warden.

Gerald J. Branker will replace Marvin Polk, who recently retired as warden, state prison officials announced today. Branker was the prison's deputy warden.

Branker will head a prison that houses 1,000 adult male inmates and has a staff of 700. The prison plays several roles, including as the site of the state’s executions.

Branker began his career as a correctional officer at Central Prison in 1979.

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