Hard to imagine in the current political climate that the NC General Assembly would spend a billion dollars to move Central Prison elsewhere. Nor does the City have the financial resources to pay that.
Well they would need a really good reason to move a prison. More reason than just a bunch of us would just like it moved because we want the land it is sitting on to be used differently… does anybody know the expected lifespan of those prison buildings?
They opened a new $150 million hospital in 2013. It probably has a 50-year life. The administrative building, utilities complex, and cellblocks were built in the 1980s. I assume the projected life was at least 50 years. Although I haven’t walked around inside, I think the only building that hasn’t been replaced is the prison industries shop.
Odd question, but what if a new prison were built in a rural area (as it should be), and everything but the hospital was demolished? Turn the hospital into a center-city multidisciplinary clinic for DTR residents?
The City has no say over this property. It’s state owned land and until the State of NC agrees to move the prison, this whole ‘reimagining’ of how that land could be repurposed is just that…imagination.
This said, the one argument that ‘could’ move the prison is under the pretext of “job creation” elsewhere. Take Butner for instance, there’s already a new federal prison and now there’s a mental hospital that is a down-sized Dorthea Dix. The area around Butner is not particularly wealthy, economically speaking BUT it is still close to the State Capitol. An argument of ‘creating 500 jobs’ in an area like Butner could very well be made to justify moving the prison out of the area where it currently stands. Of course, this argument basically ignores all the jobs that currently exist “In Raleigh” as a result of the prison…but let’s face it, this current legislature is not very friendly to our urban areas these days…
About 1300 people work at Central Prison.
The job creation argument could be made to move most of state government out of Raleigh, so be careful what you ask for… you might get it.
There’s no reason why the prison needs to be “moved,” per se. The prison population in North Carolina has declined by 5,000 inmates since 2009, and that trend is expected to continue for quite a few more years, whereas the inmate population of Central Prison is roughly 750. Now, granted, these are close custody inmates, and that inmate population is only a small part of the overall total, so it hasn’t declined as much in absolute numbers.
But you could definitely upgrade an existing prison to accommodate a higher level of security (if necessary) and close down Central Prison. There’s no reason why you would need to build a single new prison to replace it.
The key thing is that there’s nothing unusual about a prison getting closed down. Prisons get closed down all the time, and DPS has quite a bit of recent experience with it. But, yes, it would be entirely a state-level decision, and Raleigh has no power to force the state government to do anything it doesn’t want to do.
I haven’t seen any statistic that the prisoner population in close custody has gone down, and I’d be surprised if it has. Many of them are on long-term sentences, some are lifers, and others are on death row… lifers for all practical purposes.
There are about 12 other prisons that provide close custody, but how many of those have a maximum security section? The maximum security capacity at Central is something like 350, and I don’t know whether that includes the death row count (about 140).
Moving the close-custody inmates to Polk or Pasquotank or some other facility might be feasible, but it’s unclear what to do with the maximum security and death row inmates.
I don’t know at what point @dtraleigh is going to make us get a Central Prison thread, but kind of the big-picture view of it is that while certainly DPS couldn’t just snap its fingers and relocate these folks, but given a several-year window in which to make a transition, there really shouldn’t be any insuperable obstacles. (I’m not entirely sure what happens to the hospital on the easternmost corner of the land in this scenario, but I could envision a scenario where the prison goes and the hospital stays.)
One other kind of big-picture thing is that when I spoke to a source at AIA Triangle, which was the driving force behind Connections 81.2, I was told that one of the appealing aspects of the project was that also presented an opportunity to initiate a dialogue about prison reform and the overuse of incarceration. And while now we’re getting at issues beyond the scope of development in Raleigh, it is for that very reason also a chance to build a coalition of different constituencies that would like to see some change in how this land is being used. Closing down the prison gets substantially easier if reducing the overall prison population is an intertwined goal.
Yes, it could be approached incrementally and that’s probably the best approach assuming people have patience. Changing policy on incarceration, however, is inherently political and I don’t think we are anywhere close to a bipartisan consensus on that. Just getting the state to decriminalize cannabis could be a major accomplishment that takes 10-15 years.
I agree that we probably won’t ever have a bipartisan consensus on this (although this is less of a left-right issue than it may appear, and there has been some interest in criminal justice reform on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly) … but when governments decide for whatever reason that they want to do a particular thing, a lack of bipartisan consensus is generally not a dealbreaker.
Realistically you’d just need a simple majority in both houses and an amenable governor to move the prison. At the moment, that clearly doesn’t exist, but that might change in the future.
While all of our heads have been exploding over how in the hell Raleigh could have lost Apple with a COO who went to high school and college here…quietly another interesting development occurred this week. Tom Dundon, the new owner of the Hurricanes was very clear in a statement that he made at a business lunch…He wants an arena downtown!!! He even added that he could see the possibility of working with Steve Malik on a shared soccer & hockey arena facility. Not sure i’ve every seen a soccer/hockey arena…but it sounds cool!!
The City needs to seize this motivation and begin working towards helping Dundon make this a reality. The City Council has wanted the facility downtown for decades. Putting PNC where it is was stupid…at best. Dundon doesn’t strike me as a dude who likes rejection and Houston does not have a hockey franchise…so wake up Raleigh!!!
Interesting. The momentum continues for a downtown stadium.
The proposal from Kane and team for the downtown MLS stadium (and towers for state office space that was used to make room for the stadium) would be better than the location south of downtown (although that one has better interstate connection). But the Peace Street MLS stadium would be so transformational.
As cool as it is, I think the soccer stadium would be out of place on peace street. The cargill site would likely be the best spot, with the southern gateway project weaving it into the downtown fabric.
I have one Question as far as the proposal for a stadium…it has been over a year,or year and a half since they announce this project, why haven’t we heard anything ???
Theres only one spot left in the MLS expansion now. So unless Raleigh some how secures that final spot which is very doubtful with Sacramento and other cities having far better bids and game attendance, I don’t think we will hear much from Steve Malik or the city of Raleigh about this proposal.Fingers crossed something changes, I would love to have this stadium and MLS in Raleigh
Does anyone feel MLS is going to keep expanding? I do, I feel team wise they could easily get up to 40+ teams and not dilute much. There is so much talent in Soccer globally, and the US is a rapidly growing market.
With the State not likely to budge on the current site, I wonder if it fit on the nearby Wake County General Services land. Its adjacent to Kane’s other stuff…I bet they’d sell in a hot minute. It’s a tad smaller, but maybe, somehow it’d still fit…?
That’s a pretty small plot and it’s bordered by Capital Blvd and train tracks. Can’t see that happening.
The only real chance for Raleigh to land an MLS team would be for the league to implement promotion and relegation. One league but two divisions with the better teams playing in top half, the weaker in the bottom. At the end of each season the best lower division teams would move up replacing the weakest upper division teams. This system would allow the number of teams to be expanded significantly.
Will it happen in the US? Fat chance. There’s no way the owners of already established teams are going to allow their huge investment to be relegated to the dust bin of a division B status. Perhaps the commish and owners will agree to expand the league further but likely not much further. Sorry, Raleigh’s chances of landing a team aren’t very promising.
This article is a bit old but is still relevant when it comes to explaining the fundamental difference in how MLS operates vs. the rest of the world. My only comment is that under our system the U.S. failed to qualify a national team for the world cup.