Pasquotank Correctional Institution

Coordinates: 36°21′42″N 76°18′39″W / 36.36156°N 76.31079°W / 36.36156; -76.31079
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pasquotank Correctional Institution
Location527 Commerce Drive
Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S.
Coordinates36°21′42″N 76°18′39″W / 36.36156°N 76.31079°W / 36.36156; -76.31079
Security classClose and minimum security
Capacity896 total, 640 close, 256 minimum
Managed byNorth Carolina Department of Correction
WardenDaniel Everett[1]

Pasquotank Correctional Institution is a state prison located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[2]

Pasquotank Correctional Institution houses male close custody inmates, and has a capacity of 896. There is also a 256-bed minimum security prison adjacent to the prison, which was funded by a $87.5 million prison construction program approved by the North Carolina General Assembly in July 1993.[2]

On October 12, 2017, Pasquotank Correctional Institution became the site of the deadliest escape attempt in North Carolina history when four inmates attempted to escape from the facility, killing four facility employees in the process.


Pasquotank Correctional Institution was dedicated on March 27, 1996. A $33.7 million construction project was funded in July 1991 as part of a $103 million prison construction program. The institution was built using the same design as Foothills and Marion correctional institutions in Western North Carolina.[2]

2017 escape attempt[edit]

On October 12, 2017, Pasquotank Correctional Institution became the site of the deadliest escape attempt in North Carolina history when four inmates used tools gathered from the prison's sewing factory to stab and bludgeon four facility employees to death, including two correctional officers, a correction enterprise manager, and a maintenance mechanic.[3]

A total of four inmates and 10 prison employees were injured during the escape attempt, which began with inmates starting a fire in the facility's sewing plant. Two employees, 35-year-old corrections officer Justin Smith and 50-year-old correction enterprises manager Veronica Darden, died of their injuries the same day of the incident.[4][5] Two other facility employees, 49-year-old corrections officer Wendy Shannon and 31-year-old maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe, also died as a result of injuries sustained during the attack.[6][7]

Mikel Brady, one of the prisoners involved in the botched escape attempt, was charged with four counts of first degree murder in connection with the incident, along with prison escape, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and intent to kill. In October 2019, just over two years after the incident occurred, Brady was found guilty of all 14 charges against him. The jury required just over half an hour of deliberation before returning with the verdict.[8]

District attorney Andrew Womble alleged that the escape attempt and attack had been planned for months in advance, and that although three other inmates participated in the event and were charged with murder, Brady was the ringleader. Brady confirmed that he and the other inmates, who were incarcerated in the same part of the prison, had been planning for months. They specifically chose a Thursday to launch the attempt because they knew no one would be watching the loading dock. Justin Smith, one of the four victims of the attack, had his radio stolen because Brady had observed that he "was not a good communicator". Brady planned the escape because "prisoners were treated unfairly, and the race card was always thrown."[8]

Mikel Brady was subsequently sentenced to death for his role in the murders; the jury required just over an hour of deliberation to reach this decision.[9]

Following the incident, security measures at the institution were enhanced, such as access to tools becoming more restricted. Likewise, the North Carolina prison system increased safety measures by issuing body armor to guards and tasers to supervisors. On October 12, 2022, exactly five years after the incident, Pasquotank staff released balloons into the sky and observed a moment of silence.[3]


  1. ^ "Pasquotank Correctional Institution". NC Department of Adult Correction. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Pasquotank Correctional Institution". North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Archived from the original on January 30, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023 – via Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b Deen, Brad (October 12, 2022). "Five-Year Anniversary: Prisons Remembers the Pasquotank Tragedy". North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  4. ^ Web Staff (October 12, 2017). "Two officers killed in Pasquotank Correctional Institution incident". Elizabeth City, North Carolina: WTKR. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  5. ^ Astor, Maggie (October 12, 2017). "2 North Carolina Prison Workers Killed in Fiery Escape Attempt". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  6. ^ "Third Pasquotank Correctional Institution employee dies from injuries sustained in attack". Elizabeth City, North Carolina: WTKR. October 31, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  7. ^ WECT Staff (November 2, 2017). "Fourth Pasquotank Correctional Institution employee dies". Elizabeth City, North Carolina: WECT. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Boykin, Nick; Donovan, Chelsea (October 21, 2019). "Man found guilty of all charges in deadly 2017 Pasquotank Co. prison attack". Pasquotank County, North Carolina: WTKR. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  9. ^ Rago, Gordon (October 28, 2019). "Jurors sentence Mikel Brady to death in deadly North Carolina prison breakout attempt". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved January 27, 2021. Closed access icon