Nash County jail gets $5 million budget to upgrade facility ABC11 Exclusive

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, October 5, 2023
$5 million budget to upgrade Nash Co. jail
EMBED <>More Videos

The $30 billion dollar budget passed earlier this month triggered a number of things including Medicaid expansion.

NASHVILLE N.C. (WTVD) -- The $30 billion dollar budget passed earlier this month triggered a number of things including Medicaid expansion.

But it also means millions are going toward upgrading at least one North Carolina detention facility.

"If someone showed you this in 1984, I would've told you this was a bad idea," said Sheriff Keith Stone, of Nash County.

He took our cameras exclusively on a tour of his outdated jail.

"You have to imagine a law enforcement or corrections officer coming in here, look how far you are from help?" said Stone, calling the dorm-style setting dangerous and unrealistic.

He also said it makes it impossible to control inmates.

ALSO SEE: Victims in drug scheme react to former RPD detective guilty plea, sentence

Nearly two months ago, one of his guards was assaulted by an inmate and ended up in the hospital.

"He got me on the ground, hit me in the face, beat me, got my weapon," said Larry Hedgepeth, who has worked as a detention officer since 2017. "He hit me pretty hard, took him four or five times to get me down."

Nearly ten years after Sheriff Stone took office, $5 million of this year's budget will upgrade the jail. Five people broke out of the facility back in 2019 and since then, about $15 million has been provided to the facility by Nash County Commissioners.

Some of that will be seen in a new facility which opens next month next door.

"I would say that I can only help with one thing at a time," said Allen Chesser, state representative for Nash County who helped secure the funding for these upgrades. "You stand in the middle of a room with 40 people and tell me we can't spend some more to keep that corrections officer safe."

Sheriff Stone is hoping this makes his job easier and assures Larry when he gets back to work.

"Sometimes it gets hectic and you don't have enough help," Hedgepeth said. "When I get to put on that uniform in the morning, I'm good. I come in here and I'm making a difference."

RELATED | 'This saved a life': Exclusive look at the frontline fight against drugs in Nash County

The fight rages on against the deadly epidemic of drugs flooding our communities.