Local News

Durham won't get more probation officers this year

Posted December 17, 2008
Updated March 5, 2009

— The failure to oversee two murder suspects who were on probation in Durham and Wake counties when highly publicized killings occurred this year led to management changes in both offices and prompted the state Legislature to allocate $2.5 million for new jobs to help with understaffing.

But Durham won't see any of the 29 positions this budget year, according to numbers released Wednesday from the North Carolina Department of Correction.

DOC spokesman Keith Acree said that the Durham office is considered fully staffed with the 65 probation-parole officers already allotted and can manage the number of offenders in the district. As of Monday, Durham was at 59, with six officer vacancies.

Wake County will get nine additional probation officers, Guilford County will get three, and the remainder of the other 17 new positions will be spread throughout the state.

Acree said the DOC allowed for new staff in counties that did not have enough officers. Wake County, he said, needed more on the street.

Durham District Judge Marcia Morey said Durham probation officers are overworked and that with a 10 percent vacancy rate, the issue needs to be addressed.

"We have officers doubling up on caseloads," Morey said. "They can't possibly handle the new people coming in. Numbers are increasing, and with this economy, it's only going to get worse."

Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown has sent a letter to Governor-elect Perdue, who has said she is concerned about heavy caseloads, asking for help to remedy the situation.

With new hires made over the summer, Acree said, Durham has a better management structure and more supervision than other offices. The office recently added another assistant judicial district manager, two chief probation officers and a data-entry position.

The Durham office will also get 63 new radios, valued at $196,000, to allow for better communication between probation officers and local law enforcement.

"It's running in compliance on the same ration that everybody else across the state is running," said John Lee, who as judicial district manager, supervises the Durham office. "Under the current guidelines the Department (of Correction) has in place, 65 meets that goal."

Investigative reports from earlier this year found Durham and Wake counties' probation offices were disorganized, inefficient and "in a crisis situation" with their work forces.

The probes were ordered in the wake of the shooting deaths of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato in January and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Eve Carson in March.

The men charged in both slayings were on probation at the time of the crimes, and the internal probe into their case files found they had been overlooked, partly because of overworked and undertrained staff.


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  • familyfour Dec 18, 2008

    They should also look into making purchases on ebay....they are paying way to much for their stuff....

  • familyfour Dec 18, 2008

    that's a shame they won't be getting more, cause I am pretty sure they need em...no room to lock em all up, so you turn em out, and can't even probate properly.....no wonder crime is getting worse....

  • LibertarianTechie Dec 18, 2008

    whatusay, you are absolutly correct. And while we are at it, why house them in a building with heat/AC? Let's put them all in tents and they can eat three sandwiches a day. This would really cut expenses for the department of corrections and make lock-up a place you really don't want to be in--not to mention the cost of medical expenses would plummet!

  • PaulRevere Dec 18, 2008

    I'm still waiting on Mayor Bill Bell (D) to deliver on just one of his promises, much less the crime problem in Durham.

  • Bob3425 Dec 18, 2008

    OSX - absolutely right- keep in prison and working on chain gangs. If the ACLU doens't like who cares.

  • kal Dec 18, 2008

    A sad state of affairs!

  • cejr1 Dec 17, 2008

    Lost_H, Yua are 100 % right...I used to work there and all Robert Guy ever cared about was what made him look good. He has never cared about the employees, hell he doesn't care about the public either as long as the "The Establishment" in Raleigh is happy. It's all about image with the hierarchy in Raleigh.

  • OSX Dec 17, 2008

    They need to start packing them in to the prisons. Stop making it a Holliday Inn. Make it a place that you don't want to go to.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Dec 17, 2008

    Oh lord! 10% vacancy rate and they don't think they need to hire any more officers. Simply amazing. I'll bet that Robert Guy blames the supervisors again, just like he did before. Robert Guy needs to be fired, lose his pension and possibly be prosecuted for what he has done. What a Guy!

  • whatusay Dec 17, 2008

    Eliminate probation employees...they serve no purpose. Keep the criminals in jail for their full term and eliminate the probation department and save tax payers money in the long run.
    Probation does not work, and never will. All we are doing is making government bigger, and bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to government.