North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women

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North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women also known as NCCIW, is the primary North Carolina Department of Correction prison facility housing female inmates on a 30 acre campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, and serves as a support facility for the six other women's prisons throughout the state. The facility's inmate population which is the largest in the state consists of inmates from all custody levels and control statuses including death row, maximum security, close custody, medium security, minimum security, and safekeepers.[1]


The facility which eventually became the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women was originally established as a road camp for male inmates who were assigned to work on highway projects. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety states that women inmates were transferred to the facility’s current site in 1933, during renovation of women's living quarters at Central Prison, however, other historical documents conflict with this information. While some women were housed at Central Prison (mainly minority and immigrant women, and women who had committed violent crimes), many women guilty of minor crimes like theft, prostitution, drunkenness, and adultery were sent to the North Carolina Industrial Farm Colony for Women at Kinston, a reformatory institution that opened in 1929.[2] Little information exists on the Farm Colony, but there are biennial reports from the institution dating up to the year 1946.[3] Why the North Carolina Department of Public Safety omits this information is unknown, but other sources suggest the institution had a history of sterilizing its inmates in height of the Eugenics movement in America.[4] The following information on this page is taken directly from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, but it's early history of women in prison in North Carolina is likely not completely accurate.

As an alternative to returning women inmates to Central Prison, the State Highway and Public Works Commission originally proposed the construction of a women's prison on the cottage plan, but the project never got beyond the planning stage.

The women’s prison was operated as a satellite camp of Central Prison until 1938, when the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women was established as an independent facility. Four years later, Mrs. Edna B. Strickland was appointed as Superintendent of the North Carolina Correctional Institution, becoming the first female prison superintendent in North Carolina history in 1942.

The first improvements to the prison infrastructure was a $1 million construction project which expanded NCCIW facilities to include four cottage style dormitories, an auditorium, segregation unit, sewing plant, cannery, laundry, kitchen and dining hall and administration building in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In June 1975, an inmate riot at the prison which began as a work stoppage in the laundry and ended with a confrontation between correctional officers and inmates resulting in minor property damage and injuries to staff and inmates. After four days of rioting, the prison resumed routine operations, although the prison laundry was eventually closed on a permanent basis as a result of the riot.

Further expansions to the prison’s infrastructure were begun in 1986 with the implementation of an aggressive construction and renovation plan for prison beginning with the construction of a 28-bed infirmary and outpatient medical services building. Within the next seven years, the North Carolina General Assembly approved approximately $25 million in additional funding for renovations and infrastructure improvements to the facility including repair or replacement of deteriorated buildings and addition of support services necessitated by inmate population growth including the construction of six new dormitories, 48-cell maximum security housing unit, inmate mental health facility, prison operations building and gatehouse, security perimeter fence and lighting.

In 1996, the position of prison superintendent at North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women was elevated to Warden, and Carol Caldwell became the first woman to serve as prison warden in North Carolina history. NCCIW was featured in an episode of MSNBC's Lockup documentary series.

Notable inmates[edit]


  1. ^ North Carolina Department of Correction-North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women
  2. ^ Rafter, Nicole Hahn (1985). Partial Justice: Women in State Prisons, 1800-1935. Boston: Northeastern University Press. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Cahn, Susan K. (2007). Sexual Reckonings: Southern Girls in a Troubling Age. President and Fellows of Harvard College. 

Coordinates: 35°45′53″N 78°37′16″W / 35.76472°N 78.62111°W / 35.76472; -78.62111