Dept. of Public Safety changing prison's Home Leave Program - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NC toughens rules for inmates' home leaves

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The state Department of Public Safety is making it tougher for inmates nearing the end of their sentences to make home visits. But the move falls short of a request by North Carolina prosecutors that the governor scrap the program.
    
Gov. Pat McCrory approved changes that include notifying both the victim and the district attorney each time an inmate goes on home leave, DPS officials said in a news release Wednesday. Other changes would bar sex offenders from the program and not allow inmates serving a life sentence to participate unless they have a parole date.
    
"With these modifications, the Home Leave Program will continue to serve as a useful tool to assist an inmate in transitioning from prison to home, while additionally serving to reduce recidivism," DPS Secretary Kieran Shanahan said in the statement Wednesday.
    
The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys had asked McCrory to end the program, saying it puts public safety at risk and denies justice to victims' families.  McCrory's administration defended the practice last week, calling it a well-regulated program that plays a necessary role in rehabilitation.
    
Crime victims and their families are offended by the program, said Phil Berger Jr., president of the DAs conference.
    
The changes are "a good first step in eliminating the home leave program," he said. "But the people I've spoken to across North Carolina have serious concerns about letting murderers, violent felons and habitual felons out of prison for the weekends, and this type of policy just erodes the public's confidence in the criminal justice system."
    
Under the program, some minimum-security inmates with good disciplinary records can make home visits within a year of their release to help ease re-entry into the outside world. The policy has allowed more than 2,000 convicted felons to go home briefly since 2008, according to the district attorneys.
    
The program has been around for decades, but prosecutors said they only recently learned how widely it's used. The conservative Civitas Institute analyzed a recent weekend for prosecutors and found 149 convicted felons were allowed to leave prison facilities. Of those, 36 were convicted of murder and 13 had been sentenced to life in prison.
  

RELATED ARTICLES

NC officials cancel prison leave news conference

 

  • 2 dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast

    2 dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast

    A government office says a South Korean passenger ship carrying about 470 people has sent a distress call off the southern coast after it began leaning to one side.
    Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two...
  • Roanoke City Police investigates armed robbery

    Roanoke City Police investigates armed robbery

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 1:43 PM EDT2014-04-15 17:43:33 GMT
    Roanoke City Police are investigating an armed robbery at Check Into Cash, which is located at Valley View Boulevard.
    Roanoke City Police are investigating an armed robbery at Check Into Cash, which is located at Valley View Boulevard.
  • Mountain View Terrace House Fire

    Mountain View Terrace House Fire

    Monday, April 14 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-04-15 03:01:26 GMT
    Roanoke City Dispatch say fire crews are on scene, working to put out a house firein the 2100 Block of Mountain View Terrace.Dispatch says they received the call around 6:30 p.m.We will keep you updated as more information comes into our newsroom.
    Roanoke City Dispatch say fire crews are on scene, working to put out a house firein the 2100 Block of Mountain View Terrace.Dispatch says they received the call around 6:30 p.m.We will keep you updated as more information comes into our newsroom.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.