Next month the North Carolina Judicial College will sponsor a tour of four correctional facilities in western North Carolina.
The agenda for the program is here. We’ll visit two prisons: Foothills Correctional Institution for young men in Morganton, and Swannanoa Correctional Institution for women just east of Asheville. We’ll also visit two programs for probationers: the Black Mountain Substance Abuse Treatment Center for Women (a 90-day residential program similar to the men’s program at DART Cherry) and the Burke CRV Center (a 90-day imprisonment option for technical violations of probation).
As I have with prior visits to DART Cherry, Harnett Correctional, the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, and other correctional facilities in eastern North Carolina, I’ll be looking to assemble a blended group of judges, clerks, lawyers, and others who will—I hope—learn from the tours and from one another. I will prioritize applicants from the western half of the state.
An occasional criticism of the School is that our programs don’t include the voices of the defendants whose cases come through the criminal justice system. I have tried to do that, but I can try more. To the extent possible this program will include opportunities for participants to interact with inmates and program residents in way that will help participants make more informed decisions about the way they use various sentencing options. I want you to be able to evaluate whether each option is accomplishing the goals you have in mind.
I hope some of our readers will consider applying. I learn something new every time I visit a facility (I spent most of this afternoon in a prison, actually). I try to pass some of that knowledge along in my writing and teaching, but there is no substitute for seeing it for yourself.
© 2017 Cara O’Brien