North Carolina’s Alexander Correctional Institution has been ordered to stop using a leash-like tether on inmates until the device is tested and evaluated, the Charlotte Observer reports. The maximum security prison has been using the nylon tether on some inmates since opening last year. Prison officials never received the required approval from the N.C. Department of Correction’s security review committee. The state prison director didn’t know the tether was being used until the Observer asked about it after receiving letters from two inmates who said they were put on a “dog leash.”
Alexander houses 959 inmates who are serving long sentences or convicted of violent crimes. An official said the tether was used when moving inmates considered especially dangerous to the showers or recreation area. The tether is about 2 1/2 feet long and made of nylon webbing with a loop handle at one end and a clip at the other. Corrections officers attached the clip to the waist chain on inmates who would also have their legs shackled and their arms handcuffed behind their back. “Once in full restraint is adding a tether more demeaning? To me, certainly the safety factor outweighs any perceived image on the part of an inmate,” said an official.