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Federal consultants prepare to review state's probation system

Posted May 5, 2008
Updated May 6, 2008

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— A federal review team Monday began working to identify problems in the state's probation system and suggest ways to eliminate them.

An internal investigation of the system's oversight of the two men charged in the killing of Eve Carson, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president, pointed to problems, including staffing, training and communication.

Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., charged with Carson's slaying, were on probation when she was killed. The men were improperly tracked by probation officers despite other arrests and missed appointments.

After the Carson case brought problems to light, the National Institute of Corrections, a U.S. Justice Department agency, agreed to review probation management in the state's urban areas.

State officials, seeking advice on improving the system, met Monday face-to-face for the first time with NIC consultants.

“We're not here to try to look at a single office to say this is a good office or a bad office,” said George Keiser, chief of Community Corrections at the NIC. “Part of what we'll be looking at is what is North Carolina doing right now."

Advisers will examine case management, staffing levels, employee training and other areas of concern within the system.

A big challenge for probation offices is technology. When police agencies pull over or arrest a suspect, officers cannot find out immediately if that person is on probation.

Attorney General Roy Cooper announced last week he is trying to correct that by moving probation and parole information into a State Bureau of Investigation database that police access.

Cooper wants the SBI Division of Criminal Information's system to alert law enforcement officers about people on probation, parole or under post-release supervision.

Since 2006, 932 people have been arrested for a serious crime while they were on probation.

Keiser said he hopes NIC consultants will be able to release recommendations within three months.

As a federal agency, the NIC will also pick up the cost of the review. The agency does as many as 70 consulting jobs a year, but reviewing the state probation system is considered to be among the most complex.


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  • 123sunshine May 6, 2008

    It doesn't matter how closely someone is being supervised, an officer can't be there 24/7. You can't judge all probation officers by this story or even whatever the outcome of the report is.

  • TheAdmiral May 6, 2008

    If a dummy is sitting behind the paperwork and created a problem with the paperwork or the dummy is sitting behind the terminal - it does not matter.

    Which brings up a good question. How many people are let off scott free because they knew someone behind the paperwork or terminal?

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 6, 2008

    Everyone involved in the probation issue should be looked at very closely: the judges, lawyers, attorneys, probation officers, criminal, court clerks and anyone else.

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 6, 2008

    They call this an "over-sight", please. Come up with something a little better.

  • Corvus May 6, 2008

    The problem with this investigation is that it is only focusing on the Probation system. The District Attorneys and Judges need to be looked at, also. The District Attorneys keep making plea bargains with repeat offenders and placing them back on probation, even if they have been on probation several times before. Then there are judges who will do everything but send an offender to prison.

    The solution is to have a 3 strikes you are never allowed on probation again LAW.

  • b4self May 6, 2008

    932 arrested while on probation, Like I keep saying ,probation is a joke anymore.

  • Z Man May 6, 2008

    I don't know about anyone else but I have lost all faith in the 'administrative branch' of our government. It seems that most positions are filled by incompetents that push papers just to collect a paycheck. Then when something goes wrong, tens of thousands are spent on an investigation. The results of these investigations always state the obvious - so why spend the money on them in the first place (oh - the nvestigators are yet another leaf of the governments administrative branch). Those asleep at the wheel when the incident(s) occurred are then wrist slapped and it's business as usual. Maybe we should follow the Chinese example by executing those responsible.

    Eve lost her life because of this incompetence.

    I'm disgusted.

  • markdaman May 6, 2008

    How about reviewing the juvenile system also and getting rid of the slack workers in both systems. Until people are made to do their jobs these things will continue to happen.

  • willis2 May 6, 2008

    All the technology in the world won't mean a thing unless the judges and magistrates put probation violators in jail.

  • 123sunshine May 6, 2008

    So, it went from having a report to give to the General Assembly in May to taking three or months for a report. They had report in 2004.