Inmates

(5/26/17) Johnny Beck Jr. during interview at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn, N.C. Beck is one of 67 former teen offenders in N.C. serving life without parole, even after U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to reconsider juvenile prison sentencing.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo - 2017

 In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence without parole for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional. Last year, the court said the ruling also applies to more than 2,000 inmates who were convicted as teens and are serving life sentences across the country. 

Durham County Detention Facility
Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) / Wikimedia

A federal review of the Durham County Detention Facility recommends creating a separate unit for inmates with mental health diagnoses.

A picture of corn rows.
Huw Williams / Wikipedia

Inmates at seven North Carolina prisons have grown 16,250 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks and soup kitchens since the Combating Hunger program launched last spring.

The initiative is a partnership with the nonprofit Harvest Now, which has helped set up similar programs in other states.

North Carolina Public Safety Department Spokesman Keith Acree says this will allow nearby charities to provide more nutritious food to people in their communities.

An image of a jail cell
AlexVan / pixabay Creative Commons

Two suicides of inmates in the Jackson County jail during a four-month period prompted investigations by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both men died of hanging and the investigations found that both deaths occurred when jailers failed to conduct visual checks required by state rules. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Asheville Citizen-Times investigative reporter Tonya Maxwell about the cases. 

A picture of a prison cell.
Derek Purdy / Creative Commons

Last year Michael Anthony Kerr was found unresponsive after spending 35 days in a solitary confinement cell in North Carolina.  He subsequently died. 

Recent research has shown that the impacts of solitary confinement can have detrimental long term effects.  A new pilot program in North Carolina aims to reduce rates of solitary confinement in the state. 

Jessa Wilcox is with the Vera Institute, a non profit focused on justice and is working with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety on the program. 

A picture of a spiral bound notebook.
Solja Virkkunen / Creative Commons

Durham County will move forward with a  program that offers educational services for incarcerated youth.

During a six-month pilot program, the Durham Literacy Center provided male inmates ages 16-to-24 with life skills and job readiness training.

Brian Jones from the Durham County Sheriff's Office says the program will now be expanded to include female inmates and will help prepare youth to take the General Equivalency Development (GED) test.

Central Prison
Dept. of Public Safety

State prison inmates will soon find it tougher to make home visits as their sentences wind down.  Governor Pat McCrory ordered a review of the program the Department of Public Safety has used for over four decades to reacclimate inmates to life outside prison walls.  He approved four recommendations he and DPS leaders believe may cut back on parolees returning to prison. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says there are potentially thousands of inmates who have been wrongfully convicted because of a problem with structured sentencing unique to North Carolina. Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, joins host Frank Stasio to discuss how firearms possession and a change in sentencing laws have countless men and women serving undeserved stints in prison.