Inmates donate $373 to Hopeline
By Reggie Ponder
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
A little over two months after a group of inmates at Pasquotank Correctional Institution killed four prison employees in a failed escape attempt, another group of inmates at the prison donated money to assist area domestic abuse survivors and their children during the Christmas season.
The inmates’ donation to Albemarle Hopeline totaled $373.42 and came from their trust accounts. The inmate donation was matched by contributions from volunteers with Kairos Prison Ministry International. Kairos is a lay-led Christian prison ministry that provides weekly and monthly sessions with inmates.
Joseph Harrell, Pasquotank Correctional Institute’s assistant superintendent for programs, said 30 inmates participated this year in the donation drive for Albemarle Hopeline. This is the fifth consecutive year that PCI inmates have made a Christmas contribution to the nonprofit that serves battered women, their children, and survivors of sexual assault in area counties.
Harrell was joined by Ron Beitzel, Kairos Advisory Council chairman, and David Schlicter, chaplain at PCI, as they presented the donation Tuesday to Katherine Rogers, executive director of Albemarle Hopeline.
The inmates’ donation to Hopeline this year is down significantly from previous years. In the past, inmates’ donation — and the match from Kairos — has totaled around $2,500.
Prison officials acknowledged that a significant reason for this year’s decline is the shuttering of the N.C. Corrections Enterprises sewing plant at PCI in the wake of the Oct. 12 escape attempt by four inmates that resulted in the deaths of four prison employees.
Prison employees Wendy Shannon, Justin Smith,Veronica Darden and Geoffrey Howe died after being attacked by inmates in the attempted escape.
Four inmates face capital murder charges for those deaths: Mikel Brady, Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier and Jonathan Monk.
Individual inmates gave anywhere from $100 to 50 cents to the Hopeline project. One inmate had 46 cents in his account and gave 42 cents of it to the Hopeline project.
Schlichter noted the project is inmate-driven.
Some of the inmates who contributed to the Hopeline project have noted that charitable giving is the last thing many people expect them to be involved in — especially given the slayings at the prison in October.
“They were really passionate about letting the world know that they’re not all animals,” Schlichter said. “They wanted to communicate the message that they’re not all ‘those guys.’”
Harrell said inmates have participated in other charitable endeavors as well. For instance, earlier this year PCI inmates contributed $1,200 to St. Jude’s Hospital, he said.
The money the inmates donated to Hopeline wasn’t designated for a specific project. As a result, Hopeline plans to use it wherever it’s most needed.
“This time of the year the shelter is full so it’s really appreciated,” Rogers said.
Rogers said Hopeline is in good shape as far as its needs for Christmas. A number of churches in the area also make Christmas donations to Hopeline, providing gifts for mothers and children, she said.