New chief takes helm of county jail
By COREY DAVIS
Monday, September 10, 2018
A Rocky Mount native with experience overseeing state prisons in North Carolina came out of retirement to take charge of the Edgecombe County Detention Center.
Capt. Oliver Washington started on July 31 as the new detention administrator at the Detention Center. Washington, who started his career in 1984 as an officer at Polk Youth Center in Raleigh, has 31 years of experience working in prisons.
Before he retired, Washington worked for the state Department of Public Safety as the administrator at Warren Correctional Institution for two years. Washington oversaw a prison that housed more than 850 male inmates in close, medium and minimum custody and employed a staff of 400 employees. In addition, Washington managed a more than $20 million operating budget.
The longtime corrections veteran also served nine years as the correctional assistant superintendent at Tillery Correctional Center in Halifax County. Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said Washington brings new energy and a wealth of knowledge from the prison system to the Edgecombe County Detention Center.
“He has been able to come in and give us a fresh eyes on updating jail policies and he has done a tremendous job of boosting morale,” Atkinson said. “He was retired and he really didn’t have to work, but I asked him to step in to give us some of his knowledge and kind of enhance where I want to take the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office and the jail.”
Washington believed this was a great opportunity to help Atkinson with his vision and be part of a quality staff with the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office. Washington is working alongside mainstay Lt. Deborah Stokes, who has more than 20 years working in the detention center.
“I just want to help make this a more safer place, help be a resource to Lt. Stokes and move the Detention Center in a positive direction,” Washington said.
Washington said it’s important to help rehabilitate inmates so when they’re released they won’t continue to be a part of the recidivism rate and keep going back into system.
“I believe in treating the inmates with respect as human beings and offering them opportunitiy like the programs we’re implementing in the detention center,” Washington said. “One of the things I want to focus on is implementing a program to help them think about their actions and choices they make. I always tell these young guys you have something to offer to the community when you leave out of here.”
Capt. Michael Lane, who has been the jail administrator, is retiring. Atkinson said Lane’s last day is Sept. 28. Lane has worked with the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years.
“Capt. Lane has done a tremendous job with us and I commend him for the job he has done for the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “We’re going to send him out with a nice celebration.”