A fourth prison employee – maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe – has died as a result of injuries sustained during the Oct. 12 escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution, the Charlotte Observer reports. “We owe it to Geoffrey and his fallen coworkers to do all we can to keep an attack like the one that claimed their lives from ever happening inside our prisons again, and that’s what I’ve directed prison leaders to do,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. The assaults at the Eastern North Carolina prison injured eight other employees. Four inmates were charged with first-degree murder.
Law enforcement authorities said the inmates were working in the prison’s sewing plant when they tried to carry out the escape plan. The inmates beat employees with hammers and stabbed them with scissors, according to prison workers who called 911. It was the deadliest escape attempt in North Carolina prison history. Some current and former prison officers questioned whether the inmates with violent histories should have been put to work in a sewing plant, where they would have access to potentially lethal tools. Just one officer was overseeing the more than 30 inmates in the sewing plant when the violence erupted. In October, more than 30 percent of the officer positions at the prison were vacant. The prison continues to be on lockdown. It houses 676 male inmates.