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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — More than three weeks after a man was severely beaten inside the Bladen County Jail, the sheriff is finally speaking out.

Today Sheriff Prentis Benston issued the following statement:

“The assault of Joshua Ward has been thoroughly investigated by criminal investigators of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, and it has been determined that at least four subjects have culpability in the act. Those individuals, Mathue Johnson, David Gilchrist, Twasjay Brown and Darryl Simmons, each have been subsequently charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury and second-degree kidnapping. We look forward to an expedient resolution of these cases in the criminal justice system.

“In response to a recent request under the North Carolina Open Records Act we are providing jail incident reports for the years 2009 thru (sic) 2012.

“Bladen County Jail reports show that Bladen County’s jail instances are commensurate with county jail facilities of similar size, age and physical layout within the State of North Carolina.

“It is important to note that of the total number of assaults that have occurred inside the Bladen County Jail, all did not involve prisoners against prisoners but these numbers also reflect assaults of prisoners on jail staff and personnel.

“Bladen County Sheriff’s Office will continue to make every effort to operate a safe environment for inmates that are incarcerated.

“The Bladen County Jail uses sanctions as one of its tools to maintain order in the facility. Sanctions can include restrictions and or elimination of privileges for a few days to several weeks, a prisoner being moved to another call, or the moving of a prisoner to safekeeping.

“There have been increases in jail populations in recent years due to a multitude of factors; some of these factors are: the state misdemeanor housing requirements, issues with the current mental health system, proliferation of gang activity, and lengthy wait times for trials.”

While the county sent Benston’s statement via e-mail as a PDF file, the county attorney told WWAY the county would fulfill our request for the jail incident reports by sending them via the Postal Service.

Comment on this Story

  • guesty

    Some of those incarcerated are people but a vast majority are nothing more than animals that should be put down.

  • Guest20-20

    The reason he and his staff can’t keep the people incarcerated safe is because they are too busy out starting up community watch programs in the county!!!!!! How many community watch programs has he and his staff helped start in the two years he has been in office? Recently, the Bladenboro area got involved in starting a community watch and the sheriff’s help was not mentioned in any news article relating to this action. Bladen has got exactly what they deserve by the election results two years ago. Way to go BIA. By the way, if Bladen County thinks there is computer web site secure enough for its citizens too list their valuables on, God have mercy on the county citizens. Wonder if the sheriff is going to list his home valuables on the web site? There is no safe computer web site that crooks can not get into, and wah-la; they have a list of your valuables. Don’t fall for it.

  • Guest20-20

    Let the canning start with Mr. Dunn and anyone connected to the jail.

  • Guest998877

    This is jail we’re talking about, not Disney World. There needs to be a reason that people don’t want to go to jail. If it was safe and easy, three meals a day, working out, reading, watching tv, no bills, no responsibilities, nothing to worry about, everyone would want to go to jail. No one would care about consequences. Jail is supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to be scared to go to jail. I wish the general public was allowed in every jail, while the prisoners are all handcuffed together, and give the visitors baseball bats so they can beat the crap out of the inmates. Those people are criminals, or else they wouldn’t be in there. Criminals need to be punished. Running a stop sign or killing someone, they deserve punishment.

  • Guest9743

    No police chief, sheriff or prison warden can prevent fights in their facilities….fights are going to happen when people are incarcerated.

  • Parker

    Sheriff Benston is doing a good job, but the jailers at Bladen County Jail have failed in their duties. They should be disciplined.

    Violent offenders should be separated from then non-violent. This seems like a rather easy thing for the jailers to do. Why did they put Joshua Ward in a cell with violent hoodlums?

    Ward has never been known to commit physical violence. I think Ward should seek compensation for his suffering.

  • B M

    that is B/S, any sheriff that can’t keep his inmates safe or control his jailers should be canned, he’s not looking after the publics safety, and yes, those that are incarcerated are also still people with feelings and family.

  • Citizen of the Republic

    Briefly saw story last week, I seem to remember 2 inmates were black, and the victim was white.

    If anyone remembers I would like to know.

    Sheriff Prentis Benston has a duty to send this investigation to the SBI if there is any information that it might be a hate crime.

    I also remember something about his lawyer told the victim to go home after court. Is there any more news about that? I think the victim said he shouldn’t have even been in the jail.

  • Guest123

    Running a stop sign or killing someone…suppose your Mother or child ‘ran a stop sign’…would you want them to get beat like that? ANYBODY could get thrown in jail for ‘failure to appear’ on a ‘running a stop sign’ charge when the court system doesn’t get their paperwork correct. That’s the point here..not what kind of people are in there. I think the cell should fit the crime. If you have simple traffic violation, put those in a cell together..assault, drugs, murderers..same thing. And have jail employees monitering 24/7. Hire jailers that are not scared to intervene when fights happen. Give them more than 1 bullet, a tazer, pepper spray. When visiting inmates at the jail, they have lots of rules on visiting..what you can wear, what you can leave with the inmates..but somehow the prisoners end up with things they arent supposed to have. Visitors have NO physical contact with the inmates..only via video camera on a computer screen. Funny how they end up with cigarettes, drugs etc.We know it’s not ‘disneyland’. What the county needs is employees that will DO their jobs and someone to make sure.

  • Guest20=20

    Jail personnel are an extension of the Sheriff himself and his ability to hire good law enforcement people. What happened in this incident is nothing more than the sheriff’s ability to run a good department of which the jail is a part. The greatest compensation that Mr. Ward can seek is for the jail house personnel to be cleared out and a whole new set of personnel to be installed; then get himself a good lawyer and let’s see if we are getting the $15,000 or so per month cost that the county lawyer is paid each and every month for his services. It should be an interesting trial. Mr. Ward will more than likely end up with a large amount of compensation.

  • J B

    The bladen courthouse is out dated and lack security. Since when can you walk into a judicial facility without being searched .

  • l gordon

    Everyone knows jail is not Disney World. Duh….how could anyone be so dumb to make that comparison. But that being said, the ones who are not violent should be kept separate from the hard core violent ones. Let those guys be together to beat the you know what out of each other or kill one another. How ridiculous to put minor offenders in with these crazy men. What is wrong with this society? What is wrong with our laws? And where were the jailers who watch over them? They should be fired.

  • cyh

    This guy is a figurehead,he hides under his desk,herman dunn is calling the shots,this county is so corrupt its unreal.

  • Last time I checked.. I dont think the sheriff invited these nice individuals to his / mine and ours ( the ppls jail ) Them idiots do what they want especially when they see somebody they know that may have dry-snitched them out. Mr Benston cant baby sit every freakin body . Chill out. So dont blame him.. he has has enough crap to worry about..So as nctrooper1072.. get off Mr. Benstons Jock..


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