Prison official resigns as officers killed in failed escape are laid to rest

Department of Public Safety working on changes after fatal attack at Pasquotank Correctional Institution

Pasquotank Correctional Institution (N.C. Department of Public Safety)

RALEIGH – On Monday, David Guice, chief deputy secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said he will retire at the end of the month. The announcement follows a failed escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City last week that claimed the lives of two corrections officers. Guice has been in the role for four years. Previously he was the director of Community Corrections and represented Transylvania County in the N.C. legislature.  The Department of Public Safety said that Guice has worked in state government for 40 years.

Meanwhile over the weekend, the two corrections officers killed in the attack and failed escape were laid to rest.

The families of Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden and Correctional Officer Justin Smith asked for privacy as they mourned in separate services held in the Burnim Fine Arts Center at Elizabeth City State University.

“As we continue to mourn our colleagues and friends and pray for those critically injured, we not only must seek justice for the perpetrators, we are taking steps to try to ensure that this sort of tragedy never happens again,” Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said. “I am committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation of the events that occurred to make the prison environment safer for our staff, visitors to our facilities and the inmates we house.”

DPS has requested the National Institute of Corrections conduct a review of the security operations at Pasquotank Correctional Institution, and all aspects of Correction Enterprises’ safety protocols.  The department also launched a review and risk assessment of all inmates currently assigned to work in Correction Enterprises operations.

Correction Enterprises employs about 2,500 inmates statewide, teaching job skills in 17 different industries, while producing goods and providing services for government agencies.

Two corrections officers were killed and several other injured on October 12 in the sewing facility of Corrections Enterprises Two prison employees were killed and several others injured Oct. 12 at Pasquotank Correctional Institution when a group of inmates started a fire in the prison’s specialty sewing plant and attempted an unsuccessful to escape. DPS has permanently closed the sewing plant at the prison where the attack happened.