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Budget includes $2.5M for probation improvements

Posted July 9, 2008

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— The murders of UNC undergrad Eve Carson and Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato exposed problems in the state's probation system. Now, lawmakers are answering the call for change with a special earmark in the state budget.

In the 2008-09 budget approved and sent to Gov. Mike Easley this week, lawmakers set aside $2.5 million to keep better track people on probation. Easley had proposed $4 million. The House of representatives had included $3 million in its version of the budget

How to spend the money, however, depends on recommendations from the National Institute of Corrections, a federal agency in the Department of Justice. The institute agreed to provide a team to look at case management, staffing levels, employee training and other areas of concern.

Probation officers did not properly track the men charged with killing Carson and Mahato. The suspects were arrested repeatedly while they were on probation for serious crimes, then released on bond.

The Wake and Durham probation offices are under pressure to do better, and temporary managers are overseeing that process.

In addition to the additional $2.5 million for probation, lawmakers set aside $140,000 to upgrade computer programs.

Law enforcement agencies don't automatically know if a suspect is on probation when arrested, and probation officers don't automatically know if someone on their list has been arrested for another crime.

A recently announced computer system improvement aims to connect the various state systems to alleviate the problem.

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  • Adelinthe Jul 10, 2008

    bobzgirl - "The system needs upgraded, we need to make what Police Officers make and we need better training and better protection for ourselves."

    I agree with you.

    Rest assured that I don't think anyone's blaming the officers here; we're blaming the system which has the shortfalls you mentioned.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • NCAries Jul 10, 2008

    A simple enough fix would be to pay the police officers more money and give them some parolees to supervise since they will be in these areas anyway.

  • jellybeanz Jul 10, 2008

    Did you realize that the majority of Probation Officers in this State go into crime filled areas with only a pair of handcuffs and a tube of pepper spray? They go into the same areas as an armed Police Officers and armed Probation Officers (I am armed because I was promoted into the position). They put their lives on the line to do there best to protect. I did it for three years before I was promoted into a gun carrying position. The system needs upgraded, we need to make what Police Officers make and we need better training and better protection for ourselves. The majority of us really do work hard and try to make a difference.

  • FloydTurbo Jul 10, 2008

    Good $$$$ after bad ..... slapping paint on a rotting house. If the same personnel and same "good enough for guvmint work" attitude remains .... nothing gets any better.

    If POs and their supervisors are incompetent FIRE THEM! .... oh, thats right .... can't fire incompetent guvmint workers. I keep forgetting. Silly me!

  • yruatwit Jul 10, 2008

    The adage "You get what you pay for" is no more true than in State government employment. If you want a professional, competent, educated and responsible workforce, you have to be willing to "come off the hip" to attract, recruit and support it. However, if you (our General Assembly) are only willing to provide a salary well below the nation's median income level and require only a basic education for a large percentage of state positions, well, your state government positions are (currently) properly staffed. Here's a thought, just take half of Mary Easley's salary and I'll bet you you could hire a well-qualified and highly educated probation officer.

  • Adelinthe Jul 10, 2008

    It's a start, but the probation system hasn't been shored up for so long that it's probably just like a drop in a bucket.

    What needs to occur there is enough $$$ to train each and every person all over again, and to ensure there's enough money and manpower to give each new employee the same training and not to send them in the field or allow them to make any decisions until they're fully trained.

    To do anything else is like putting the cart in front of the horse, except in this case, the horse can kill someone.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • chargernut69 Jul 10, 2008

    even with extra money, I think that there needs to be some real training & accountablity for the probation system. Could be an issue of apathy for those that work with it day to day?...

  • whatusay Jul 10, 2008

    This is a waste of tax payers money. All they will do is hire more people and make the government bigger and bigger. And in the last 8 years the government has grown by 60%. Eventually everyone will work for the government.

  • 123sunshine Jul 10, 2008

    I am curious about this computer program. I hope it works better than some of the other programs that the state has implemented, in an effort to save money.

  • 123sunshine Jul 10, 2008

    I can certainly understand waiting for the findings to be able to spend the monies in the most effective way.

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