ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — For months we’ve tried speaking with Bladen County Sheriff Prentis Benston several times since first looking into problems at the county jail.
In November, he referred us to County Attorney Leslie Johnson. So we sent Johnson a long list of questions and concerns about the jail in November, December, January and now February. Today we got some answers. Sort of.
In a letter to WWAY NewsChannel 3, Johnson says that the 50-year-old jail needs to be modernized. Johnson says county leaders were already taking measures to find a solution long before problems arose. He says county commissioners approved money for a feasibility study for construction of a new jail or improving the old one and hiring architects.
We tried once again Wednesday to speak with Sheriff Benston, but once again he did not want to talk. Instead he said everything we need to know is in Johnson’s letter. But by not talking to us, Benston again refuses to answer our questions about complaints from current and former inmates that include mold, human waste being thrown, a lack of medical care and other concerns about the safety and upkeep behind the walls of the Bladen County Jail.
We asked the sheriff if we could go inside the jail and see the conditions for ourselves, but he declined for security reasons saying inmates could throw things at our reporter.