Thursday, July 25, 2024

New Hanover County Correctional Center has a new warden

NCDAC Secretary, Todd Ishee, has appointed Johnny Spearman as the warden of the New Hanover County Correctional Center. (Courtesy NCDAC)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY— New Hanover County has a new warden in town. 

Johnny Spearman, an Army veteran and experienced professional in corrections, was appointed to lead New Hanover County Correctional Center by Todd Ishee, the secretary of adult correction at North Carolina Department of Adult Correction (NCDAC). Spearman replaces Edward Basden, promoted in December to warden at Pender County’s Correctional Institution. Donnell Lenton, the associate warden of operations, and Kirk Giles, the associate warden of rehabilitative programs, oversaw the all-male, minimum-security prison in the interim.

Spearman will supervise up to 350 offenders. The facility operates as a re-entry center, focusing on programs and initiatives designed to ready inmates for reintegration into society after incarceration. 

Offerings include GED educational programming, instruction in computer applications and information literacy, as well as training in fields like electrical work, among others. Additionally, the prison provides employment opportunities for offenders in various roles, including food services, janitorial services, barbering, clerical work, and more.

It’s one of the largest work-release initiatives in the state to connect offenders with employment opportunities in the community, including roles at the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the ILM Airport, and the Battleship North Carolina.

Spearman — with a degree in criminal justice from James Sprunt Community College and Mt. Olive College — has served the correctional sector in this region since the mid-’90s — starting as a correctional officer at the Pender Correctional Institution after it opened in 1994 and promoted to case manager by 1999.

Seven years later, he transitioned to working with Community Corrections. He returned to Pender Correctional Institution in 2007 as a supervisor for correctional programs before becoming program director at the facility in 2012. In 2019, Spearman began overseeing offender labor at NCDAC.

Spearman holds certifications in advanced corrections, probation, and parole supervision.

[This has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Donnell Lenton. The NCDAC provided PCD the incorrect spelling and corrected it after press.]

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