Harnett Correctional officer stabbed by inmate

March 20, 2019

An inmate stabbed a female correctional officer Tuesday morning at Harnett Correctional Institution, authorities said.

Officer Mary Crosby was stabbed more than once, but the wounds were not considered life-threatening, according to Jerry Higgins, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

The assault occurred at about 10:50 a.m. in a housing unit of the medium-security prison in Lillington.

The State Bureau of Investigation and Lillington police are investigating the incident, but no charges had been filed as of Tuesday evening.

Crosby, a 17-year-veteran, was in “good spirits” and was with her family at an outside medical facility, officials said.

The inmate, whose name wasn’t released, has been moved to a different prison, officials said.

A former director of North Carolina’s prison system told lawmakers Monday that major changes are needed to improve safety in state prisons.

Boyd Bennett, who worked in what was then known as the Department of Corrections for 36 years before retiring a decade ago, told members of a special Senate committee that understaffing is now the No. 1 safety issue for corrections workers, calling the number of vacant positions at some prisons alarming.

He also said lawmakers need to raise the pay for corrections workers to solve that problem.

Corrections officers got a 4 percent raise in this year’s state budget and are likely to see another increase in the 2019-20 budget.

Bennett also recommended splitting the Division of Adult Corrections off from the Department of Public Safety, where it was moved in 2012 as a way to save money during the state’s budget crisis.