Issues Within NCDOC
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Issues Within NCDOC Affecting It's Volunteers and Inmates Rights
This page is dedicated to the problems and issues that the volunteers and inmates face within NCDOC and eventually all the states that have Pagan volunteers within them.

Odom Correctional Facility
Odom Correctional Institute is located in Jackson, NC, which is 337 miles one way from Great Falls,SC, which is the home of Jeanette Cooper and Darla Wynne. The Chaplain at this facility, Chaplain Pittard is a man with a definate attitude towards it's Wiccan volunteers, which at this time it has 3 of them and none of the 3 have the ability to go to this facility without experiencing some form of a problem.

It all began about a year and a half ago when William Lee Roope was transferred from Foothills Correctional Institute to Odom Correctional Institute. He had been studying to become a serious student of metaphysics and of the Tradition of the Sidhe. He requested that Darla be his religious volunteer and she began to go through the process of becoming a volunteer for this facility.

Right from the get go, Chaplain Pittard was resistant to her being a volunteer and even claimed he would not allow her to be a volunteer. It took Darla over 5 months to get to the point of receiving her volunteer training, which of course there had to be a problem during this process.

Chaplain Pittard told Darla she was not allowed to say the word "god or christ," because it was classified as cussing when she did it because she wasn't a Christian. He made it very clear that he did not want her there and the only reason she was there was due to the pressure and problems that involved Chaplain Canady and Chaplain Prince of Raleigh.

After that, the only time the visit to Odom went well was when Chaplain Canady occompanied Darla and once when she went with Donald Cobb, but then Donald had a problem at that time because Chaplain Pittard constantly physically kept putting his hands on Donald in a negative manner, but Donald didn't say anything to him, just complained about it all the way home and refused to return to the facility.

Darla continued to look for volunteers in this area due to the long drive and the constant issues that were arising due to Chaplain Pittard.

Jeanette came to stay with Darla due to her having personal difficulties and in her way to repay WARD for their help in her situation, she began to do prison ministry and found that she thoroughly enjoyed this work. She agreed to do Odom Correctional and her first visit came to the conclusion that Chaplain Pittard and Darla must have a personality clash and felt that she could perform well within this facility without a problem.

Ostara, Jeanette discovered that Chaplain Pittard and Darla did not have a personality clash, but Chaplain Pittard will make the volunteers efforts fruitless and frustrating.

Jeanette drove 337 miles in a storm that had winds blowing at 70 mph, which at one time picked her vehicle up and set it down in the next lane, which scared her hald to death! There were wrecks along the way, rained so hard that she had to pull off the road to wait for the conditions to drive to become safe, called Chaplain Pittard to let him know where she was at, running late due to the difficulties and requested to know if she would still be allowed to see the inmates and was told, "No problem. I will be here waiting for you so come on out." She still had another hour to drive to get to the facility and continued on her trip. When she arrived she was met by Chaplain Tysore, who was told to not allow her to have entry into the facility. She was amazed at this response, but accepted it because she knew there was nothing she could do about it at that time.

Jeanette called Darla and told her, her story and in return Darla called Chaplain Prince's office in Raleigh and talked to Chaplain Canady about the situation, but really no results were accomplished at that time, but was told to have Jeanette file a letter regarding what happened.

In March Stacey Hamilton is transferred from Foothills Correctional and is moved to Odom Correctional who was due for his initiation, so Darla begins to make arrangements for this to happen and to have Jeanette's presence at this facility to actually be a good one with the inmates, which to date hadn't happened!

Chaplain Canady requested that Darla put the initiation requirements and Sabbat needs in writing, which she did, but Chaplain Pittard claimed he never received. Chaplain Canady checked up on the progress and Darla kept him up to date on the situation. About 2 weeks prior to the Sabbat Chaplain Pittard decided there was a problem with food and demanded that Chaplain Prince put something into writing to allow food into the facility, which had been done several times before by Darla, but now it wasn't policy and it wasn't happening unless something in writing came down from Raleigh.

Darla called Raleigh and Chaplain Prince was at a meeting, so she spoke with Melinda his secretary, which it was also her last day at the Chaplains office (which she was a doll to work with! Always cooperative, nice and did an excellent job!)she told her everything that Chaplain Pittard wanted and even Melinda didn't think that he could demand something in writing from Chaplain Prince, but assured Darla that she would deliver the message and this would get resolved soon and was apologetic for the constant problems at Odom Correctional Institute.

Chaplain Prince called Darla and they came up with a compromise that should have satisfied everyone including Chaplain Pittard, but of course it did not! Darla agreed to bring only four (4) food items; Green Man Salad with 2 kinds of dressing, chicken salad sandwiches, cake and Hi C punch, which is what Jeanette brought to the facility.

Chaplain Prince assured Darla that this compromise would be accepted by Chaplain Pittard and that he would contact him and let him know what was agreed upon and stated that if there was any problems that he was sure that Chaplain Pittard or himself would call, which there was no calls from either.

May 2,2001, Jeanette got up at 6:00 am to begin her drive to insure that she was on time and was actually early this time! She again gets there and once again Chaplain Pittard has a problem with the food and claimed to the security guard that Darla obviously got his message on the phone because she sent food and claimed that he left a message that she could only bring store bought food and only allowed the cake and Hi C into the facility.

Chaplain Pittard also made a comment that many people within NCDOC didn't like the Wiccans and were tired of Chaplain Prince defending it.

Once inside the facility and with the inmates Jeanette discovered that they had several complaints that they bombarded her with as soon as she walked through the door.

The main complaint was that every religion (supposedly, we haven't checked this out as of yet) within the Odom Correctional Facility receives a hundred dollars (100) for their supplies and needs, but according to the inmates they have been asking for months and as of this date has not received their allotment for altar funds, which they were using nubs for candles and the last of the incense, which Darla had supplied from her last visit.

The facility is claiming the inmates can only use their tarot cards at their weekly Tuesday one hour meetings and at no other times.

The NCDOC policy states that each inmate may have one tarot deck of 78 cards within their possession. The only time an inmate is suppose to be banned from their form of worship is when the inmate uses their religion to create a disturbance, which in turn creates a security threat or to promote fear within other inmates, which none of these individuals have done to our knowledge.

Besides the complaints and the food issues, there were some good moments at this Sabbat for Odom Correctional Facility, it's volunteer and Wiccan inmates!

Stacey Hamilton received his first degree initiation! The ceremony went very well and uninterrupted by the facility. The Beltane ritual went very nice with a wonderful meditation and all enjoyed the cake and juice!

Jeanette and Darla travel 337 miles one way to this facility for a one hour visit with twelve (12) Wiccan inmates who on a daily basis is denied their right to worship in some manner and to be treated with disrespect and harrassment each and every visit.

The current decision making regarding this facility made today.

After working closely with Raleigh, Chaplain Canady and Chaplain Pittard for over a year on resolving the issues regarding the treatment of it's volunteers, inmates and the tarot issue and being successful in some areas and complete failures in others we are going to attempt to contact Raleigh, Chaplain Canady and Pittard one more time to get these issues resolved. Jeanette will write a letter to Raleigh regarding the last two (2) visits. Darla will contact the NC ACLU and speak with it's staff attorney who has been working on inmate's religious freedoms and find out the legalities of these issues. Where we go from this point will depend solely on how this is resolved within NCDOC, but we are certain we cannot allow this behavior to go unchallenged if necessary.

May 7, 2001, Darla called Odom Correctional to speak with Chaplain Pittard, but he was not in, so she spoke with Mrs Hucks, who is his supervisor.

Darla discussed the food problems that Jeanette had and she stated that Chaplain Pittard was suppose to have called and left message with us to insure we only brought store bought food and today we settled on a possible miscommunication problem, but Darla brought up last Sabbat that Jeanette attended and made the strong statement that it was done solely out of pure meanness. Darla also had Jeanette repeat her conversation with Chaplain Pittard in regards to Chaplain Prince. The last issue was the tarot cards and Mrs. Hucks claims the policy is not specific on whether the inmates are allowed to maintain them for their personal use and stated we would need Chaplain Prince to clarify this issue.

Darla then called Chaplain Prince and asked him if the tarot policy was meant for the inmates to have for their personal use and he confirmed this and stated he would attempt to get this worked out and was very apologetic for the continous problems that we were having at Odom. They talked for some time about all of the issues at Odom and hopefully he will get this worked out to where being a volunteer and inmate there is not so awful!

Darla did call the ACLU to speak with Sef Jaffey, but he was out due to a family emergency and will not be back in until next week, so the legalities of this situation is still unclear at this time.

We will keep you updated on this situation and it's resolution.

Resolving Problems Now Prevents Future Issues While Maintaining The Integrity Of The Inmates, Volunteers And Religion