A nurse at Pasquotank Correctional Institution is facing criminal charges after she allegedly tried to sneak a cellphone into the prison for an inmate.

Kanisha Vontae Joyner, 39, of Elizabeth City, was arrested Nov. 10 and charged with attempting to provide a cellphone to an inmate, Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten said in a press release Monday.

Under state law, inmates are not allowed to have cellphones while they’re incarcerated.

According to Wooten, Pasquotank sheriff’s deputies went to the prison Nov. 10 to investigate a tip that an employee was “planning to arrive with contraband and attempt to distribute (it) to an inmate,” Wooten said in the release.

PCI officials stopped the employee, later identified as Joyner, after she entered the prison and began a search of her and her belongings, the release states. A cellphone was located in Joyner’s belongings, the release states.


Joyner was taken before a magistrate and formally charged. She was confined at Albemarle District Jail in lieu of a $50,000 secured bond but released after posting bond, the release states.

A spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety said Monday the incident involving Joyner is being investigated both internally and by local law enforcement.

Joyner is still employed by the prison, “pending the results of the investigations,” DPS spokesman John Bull said.

“The Department of Public Safety has zero tolerance for any staff involved in any illegal activity,” Bull said. “The department has many hard-working correctional professionals and it takes staff arrests very seriously. Cell phones are contraband in North Carolina prisons.”

According to information provided by DPS, Joyner was hired to work at the prison as a licensed practical nurse on June 22 of this year. Her annual salary is $47,150.