With Laurence Alvin Lovette on trial for killing the University of North Carolina student body president, officials say that the probation system in disarray that his case highlighted is much improved, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Lovette and his alleged accomplice were on probation when they were charged with murdering Eve Carson. A review found there had been scant oversight.
Improvements include upgraded technology so probation officers, law enforcement, and court officials can better communicate with each other about the 108,322 offenders on probation. Probation has a new training system for street-level officers, and a new risk-assessment process in which officers conduct a deeper review of a probationer’s home environment, social temptations, and trends of violence. Today, the probation staff vacancy rate is just below 2 percent, much lower than the 8 percent rate in 2010 and the more than 10 percent in 2008, when Carson was killed. The 1,480 officers carry an average of 71 cases, up by three from the average in 2008, but each officer has a blend of cases that ranges from serious offenders who need a lot of supervision to those who need little. In 2008, high vacancy rates in some urban districts meant officers sometimes had as many as 100 cases.