In some of the state’s most dangerous prisons, officers have been skipping a crucial part of their job for years by failing to perform their required 30-minute security checks. The negligence may have contributed to the deaths of at least eight inmates. Some blame staffing shortages.
Assaults on North Carolina prison personnel had increased this year even before a deadly escape attempt Oct. 12 at Pasquotank Correctional Institute. Two officers, a vocational instructor and a maintenance worker were killed, and four inmates are charged with murder.
Courts tossed out most of the state’s sweeping 2013 election law due to racial bias. Republican-controlled election boards in all 100 North Carolina counties were tasked with devising new voting rules. Critics say they came up with more of the same: procedural changes designed to limit voting by African-Americans.
In the three years since North Carolina adopted a series of reforms to its criminal justice system, the state's prison population has dropped by 8 percent and its crime rate has fallen 11 percent, according to a recent report by the non-profit Council of State Governments. Since launching “justice reinvestment” reforms in 2011, the state has closed 10 correctional facilities. Those closures are expected to save the state $560 million by 2017, according to the report. The state has reinvested […]