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population.

Michael Harbin

Pender Correctional Institution

A six-year veteran of the Department, Harbin was recognized for an act of heroism on April 14, 2002.  After hearing a loud explosion while working on the yard, he located the source of the blast in the boiler room of a nearby dormitory and sounded the emergency call on the radio.  Inside the boiler room, he smelled gas and saw two injured people, a maintenance worker and an inmate.  He turned off the gas and then assisted the injured people.  Harbin’s quick thinking and actions may have helped prevent a second explosion and more injuries.

Essex Hester

Polk Youth Institution

A member of the Department since 2000, Hester’s strongest contribution comes in the area of public relations. He is frequently assigned to the gatehouse at Polk Youth Institution’s main entrance, where he comes in contact with everyone who enters and leaves the prison.  “He provides a very good first impression to our visitors and volunteers,” wrote Capt. Tarquintus Walser.  “He has communication skills that can calm an angry visitor or cheer up an unhappy mother.”

Christine Hinnant

Wayne Correctional Center

A nine-year veteran of the Department, Hinnant has worked all but eight months of her tenure at Wayne Correctional Center, where she serves as the disciplinary investigating officer.  Hinnant also serves as a spokesperson for the Southeast Region of the American Correctional Association on the subject of women in corrections, a mentor for the Wayne County Youth Outreach Program and coordinator of the employee flower fund at Wayne Correctional Center.  

“Officer Hinnant goes beyond her responsibilities and ensures that each of her coworkers feels appreciated,” wrote her supervisor, Sgt. Alvin Laws.  “She has definitely impacted the morale of her coworkers.”

Sgt. Timothy Kerley

Catawba Correctional Center

A sergeant for a community work crew, Kerley shoulders many other responsibilities at Catawba, including coordinating the prison’s drug testing program, supervising the armory, issuing officer uniforms and speaking to school and civic groups.  He also serves on one of the department’s regional drug interdiction teams, and is currently managing a caseload of 50 inmates while a case manager’s position remains vacant due to a hiring freeze.

“I feel indebted to this man for the extraordinary contributions he has made at this facility,” wrote assistant superintendent J. Charles Mackie.  “He is a team builder and a person who tries to find a way to solve problems that inevitably come up in daily operations.”

Elmer Macopson

Marion Correctional Institution

Macopsen works in the segregation unit at Marion Correctional Institution, helping supervise some of the state’s most difficult inmates.  He first joined the Department of Correction in 1970 at Western Youth Institution and served at the old McDowell County prison unit until 1978.  He left the department to join the McDowell County Sheriff’s

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