State News

Probation chief not returning, retiring

Posted January 3, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Robert Guy, the director of the Division of Community Corrections, told WRAL News on Saturday that he submitted his retirement paper three weeks ago.

Governor-elect Beverly Perdue announced Friday that Guy would not be returning to his post as director of the Division of Community Corrections in the new administration.

Durham councilman weighs in on Guy Durham councilman weighs in on Guy

Guy in a telephone interview on Saturday said his office received a call from Perdue’s transition team on Friday indicating that he would not be asked to stay in the position.

Guy has been the director of the division for the past 11 years.

The Division of Community Corrections came under fire last year following the slayings of Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato. One suspect in both deaths and a second suspect in Carson's death were on probation at the time of the two killings, but their probation officers failed to keep close tabs on them.

“The failed leadership of the past cannot lead us into the future,” Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown said Friday. “So that’s the good news that he’s (Guy) gone.”

 

Guy has acknowledged his department made mistakes, but he said decisions by judges, limited funding and state laws often hindered the department's efforts.

On Saturday, Guy said Perdue and her staff did not meet with him or retiring Correction Secretary Theodis Beck prior to the announcement.

Beck was expected to stay in the position until his retirement on Feb.1 but decided that Dec. 31 would be his last day, Guy said.

Perdue announced that retired Marine Col. Alvin Keller Jr. will be the secretary of the Department of Correction.

"It is what it is where we are today, and so my point is start now and move forward," Perdue said in announcing Keller's appointment.

An assistant attorney general who previously served as a chief circuit military judge for the Navy and Marines, Keller said he wants more cases of rehabilitation with fewer cases of repeat offenders.

Keller's career contrasts with that of Beck, who worked his way up through the department ranks and was secretary for 10 years.

Perdue said she still has great confidence in Keller, who arrives following recent criticism of the Easley's administration's handling of the probation system.

"He's got enough military background to understand the ranking order, the pecking order. He's got the ability to make rules and get followed and make things happen," Perdue said. "He's got a tremendous depth of judicial knowledge and legal knowledge and he has a lifetime of government experience."

Incoming Correction Department leaders will ask the National Institute of Corrections, a federal organization that helps state and local governments with correction issues, to work with field probation officers early this year, said Jennie Lancaster, whom Perdue on Friday named the department's chief operating officer.

"People who are being placed on probation will have to understand that there are adverse consequences for not following the conditions of their probation," Keller told reporters.

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  • Proud Airman Jan 5, 2009

    This "retirement" should not come as a suprise. However, probation officers can't take all the blame. Often times, they really are limited by laws and judges. Moreover, judges and district attorneys let a larger number of criminals go free every day than probation officers do.