Local News

Final report on N.C. probation system calls for changes

Posted September 9, 2008 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2008 9:30 p.m. EDT

— A final federal report on the state's probation system was released Tuesday and suggested the state screen-high risk offenders who are on on low-level probation, study workloads and staffing levels, and hire an expert consultant to help with management issues.

The state called in the National Institute of Corrections, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, to review probation issues after the deaths of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Eve Marie Carson.

The suspects in those homicides were on probation at the time of the crimes. An internal probe by the North Carolina Department of Correction's Division of Community Corrections found that probation officers did not properly track Demario James Atwater, 22, and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17.

Atwater is charged in Carson's death. Lovette is charged in both cases.

Last month, WRAL News obtained a copy of a draft report of the NIC's findings, and it included 35 recommendations for various improvements.

The final report varies little from the draft, but does correct factual errors about the Carson and Mahato cases.

Robert Guy, director of the Division of Community Corrections, has said that even if the agency had efficiently followed its own procedures, Lovette and Atwater could have been free from custody when the students were killed.