Western Youth Institution

Western Youth
Institution

5155 Western Ave
Morganton NC 28655
Phone:828-438-6037
Fax: 828-438-6076

 

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Western Youth Institution’s unique architecture has led prison officials to call it the “highrise”. Built in 1972, Western is a narrow building that rises 16 stories from a 90 acre tract of land in the rolling hills of Burke County.

In July 1992, the nearby minimum custody Burke Youth Center closed and the inmates were transferred to Western. The General Assembly provided 4 dormitories for Western as part of the 75 million dollar prison construction program authorized in 1990.

Western is a multi-custody prison, which houses close, medium, and minimum custody inmates. The facility functions as the diagnostic, reception, and housing facility for male youth ages 13-22. Inmates are housed in 460 cells on floors 5 through 14 with an additional 33 cells on the 16th floor used for segregation. The 15th floor is comprised of a ten bed infirmary, dental, and mental health treatment offices. The lower 4 floors are designated for administration, education, programs, kitchen, recreation, and inmate canteens. There are 4 dormitories located on the prison compound designated as a minimum custody unit. The standard operating capacity of Western Youth Institution is 652.

Western houses the youngest inmates in the State prison system and serves as the point of entry for all male felons ages 13 through 18 and misdemeanants ages 19 to 22. Upon arrival, inmates undergo a series of diagnostic evaluations that will determine work, education, and housing assignments.

Education plays an important role at Western. The prison system’s largest school offers the GED program to inmates with the help of Western Piedmont Community College. The college also provides vocational classes. Due to the age of the prison’s inmates, the education program provides an Exceptional Students program for youth with special educational needs.

Everyday 50 Western inmates receive on-the-job training in construction and forestry as part of the B.R.I.D.G.E. program, operated by the Division of Prisons and the Division of Forest Resources of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Inmates at Western are also assigned to work as maintenance, janitorial, or kitchen help.
Inmates may participate in the Drug Alcohol Recovery Treatment (DART) program. DART provides intensive inpatient treatment in a fast moving, 28 day treatment cycle with lectures, films, educational and therapy groups, as well as individual counseling. Inmates work with professional staff and peer counselors. DART relies heavily on the principles of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous with group meetings available in the evenings.

Visitation: Visitation for inmates housed in Regular Population is permitted Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (2 hours) and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (2 hours) for a total of four (4) visiting periods per week. A total of three (3) approved visitors will be permitted to visit an inmate at a designated day and visiting period each weekend. Inmates are assigned to visiting period groups by the first letter of their last name. The four (4) visiting period group assignments are A through G, E through L, M through R, and S through Z. Some visiting periods may be more advantageous than others for visitors. In order to permit all visitors an equal opportunity to visit, each visiting period group assignment will be rescheduled on a monthly basis.

Visitation for inmates housed in Administrative Segregation, Disciplinary Segregation (unless visiting privileges are suspended), Protective Control, Safekeepers, and validated Security Threat Group members will visit under the following procedures:

Visiting hours shall be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
No visiting privileges shall be allowed on State legal holidays.
All approved visits will be scheduled by the Officer-in-Charge and placed in the appointment log in the Captains’ Office.
Visits should normally be arranged twenty-four (24) hours in advance.
Normally only one (1) visit per week for one (1) hour duration and no more than three (3) approved visitors at a time are allowed.
Children under the age of eighteen (18) may be allowed to visit when accompanied by an adult visitor (defined as an individual age eighteen (18) or older).

Visitation for inmates housed in High Security Control, Maximum Control, and Intensive Control will visit under the following procedures:

Visiting hours shall be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
No visiting privileges shall be allowed on State legal holidays.
All approved visits will be scheduled by the Officer-in-Charge and placed in the appointment log in the Captains’ Office.
Visits should normally be arranged twenty-four (24) hours in advance.
Be restricted to two (2) visits every thirty (30) days. The thirty (30) day period shall begin at the initiation of the first visit.
Only one (1) visitor will be allowed to visit in a non-contact area.
At least one (1) certified officer will remain outside this area for supervision.

Visits may be authorized by the Chaplain for Clergy, Monday through Friday. Professional visits (Attorney or Law Enforcement) are considered special visits and may be authorized by the Officer-in-Charge. Unusual circumstances and/or requests may be referred to the Administrator I or Assistant Superintendents. The visiting location for these visits will be determined by the approving authority.

DIRECTIONS: From I-40 take exit 103. Go to the light and turn west toward Rutherfordton onto U.S. 64. Drive about .8 tenths mile and turn left onto Salem Road. There will be a sign at each left turn indicating a Division of Prisons facility. Drive one mile and turn left onto Burkemont Road. Drive one mile and turn left onto Western Boulevard. Drive past Foothills Correctional Institution and the prison entrance is on the left.