Press Clipping: 5 former inmates file suit against Lanesboro Correctional

By Tina Terry


This Anson County prison has been plagued by violence and controversy all year.  Now five inmates  are suing more than a dozen people including guards and administrators saying they failed to keep inmates safe from violent attacks.
READ: Lanesboro Lawsuit
Those five NC inmates are serving time for crimes like murder, rape, and armed robbery.  In their lawsuit they claim prison administrator David Mitchell failed to protect prisoners, “from assault by other inmates with contraband weapons.”
They also make the same allegations about more than a dozen others including correctional officers and sergeants.
Plaintiff Orlando Harshaw said he filed a grievance about possible staff gang activity. He said a unit manager took the grievance and shared it with “another inmate known to be actively involved with the Bloods.”  He said that endangered his life.
IMAGES: Former inmates file suit against Lanesboro Correctional Institution
Another plaintiff, Sean Smith, said an officer escorted him into the shower and allowed an inmate to attack him while he was restrained in handcuffs.
“They feared for their safety,” said Daryl Atkinson.  He’s an attorney for the plaintiffs.  He said his clients have been transferred to other facilities to serve their time.  He said they are asking to never have to return.  They’re also seeking compensatory and punitive damages and they want major changes at Lanesboro Correctional Facility.
“No matter what you may have done in society, you aren’t deserving of treatment that can render you in an unsafe situation.”
The Department of Corrections said it would not comment on pending litigation.  However, a spokesman said lawsuits by inmates are fairly common nationwide.
READ: Lanseboro Grievance
Channel 9 has reported on problems at Lanesboro Correctional Institute. In November an inmate accepted a plea deal after being accused of stabbing and killing a fellow inmate.
In October, investigators said the administrator was stabbed in the prison recreation yard.
Earlier this year, the Department of Public Safety asked the FBI to investigate gang activity at the prison. Agents took control of the prison because they believed inmates were using smuggled phones to plan attacks from inside.
This piece originally appeared on on November 18, 2014.