Caledonia Correctional Institution in Tillery is one of four prisons and one rehabilitation facility in the state in which their names will be changed in an effort to update them to 21st century cultural standards.
Effective Monday, the Halifax County prison will be known as Roanoke River Correctional Institution.
“These changes are being made to better reflect the diversity of modern-day society,” said Todd Ishee, commissioner of prisons. “In this day and age, it is unacceptable to maintain facility names with negative historical connotations.”
Caledonia Correctional stems from the property’s use as an antebellum plantation, where crops were grown and harvested with slave labor, the division of prisons said today.
Over the past year, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety conducted an in-depth review of the historical aspects of the names of all its state-owned or operated facilities.
During this review, officials determined the names of five facilities should be changed in sensitivity to the cultural legacy issues that have been part of the national conversation in recent years.
The staff at those five facilities had input into choosing the new names.
“It was important to me that the staff have a say in the names of the places they work, and they preferred names with local community significance,” said Ishee. “I strongly believe they should not have to work in facilities named to honor those who may have oppressed their ancestors.”
In its research, DPS looked into the historical context for the names of 1,893 buildings that are part of 240 complexes owned or operated by DPS.
In addition to the former Caledonia, the following name changes will be instituted:
Morrison Correctional Institution in Hoffman will become Richmond Correctional Institution.
Morrison Correctional was named for former Governor Cameron Morrison, who was a leader of the Red Shirts, a violent, post-Civil War organization that promoted white supremacy.
Polk Correctional Institution in Butner will become Granville Correctional Institution.
Polk Correctional was named for William Polk, a Revolutionary War officer who owned slaves.
Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain will become Western Correctional Center for Women.
Swannanoa Correctional’s name was tied to the construction of the Swannanoa Tunnel in Asheville, which appears to have resulted in the deaths of numerous Black offender-laborers in the late 1800s.
DART Cherry residential treatment facility in Goldsboro will become DART Center.
The DART Cherry facility was named for former Governor Gregg Cherry, who advocated to drop civil rights from the Democratic party platform in the 1940s.