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Retired prison head hired to lead Nash jail

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A veteran jailer and warden with more than three decades of experience in corrections was hired as the Nash County Detention Center’s new administrator last week.

Kevin Barnes came out of retirement to accept the post April 1, said Chief Deputy Brandon Medina of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. He retired following two years as administrator at the Warren Correctional Institution, a state prison in Warrenton, where he oversaw 850 inmates, supervised 400 employees and managed an operating budget of more than $20 million.

In his career with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Corrections and its predecessor, the state Department of Corrections, Barnes worked in 11 custody levels and held management positions in Nash, Wake, Pasquotank, Pamlico, Craven, Wayne and Warren counties.

Barnes was also involved with prison construction and was part of the team that opened Nash Correctional Institution in Nashville, Pasquotank Correctional in Elizabeth City, Craven Correctional in Vanceboro and Pamlico Correctional in Bayboro, according to a biography released by the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

A Wilson County native, Barnes has 31 years of prison experience and more than 28 years of correctional supervisory experience.

Barnes served as assistant commander of the state’s Prison Emergency Response Team for eight years, received the Old North State Award from the governor’s office and completed the Correctional Leadership Development Program.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, psychology and religious studies from North Carolina Wesleyan College.

Barnes and his wife, Priscilla, have one grown child and attend Contending for the Faith Church Ministries in Wilson.

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