New Book on Probation Violations in North Carolina

I’m happy to announce the availability of a new School of Government publication, Probation Violations in North Carolina.

There are over 80,000 people on probation in North Carolina. Management of their cases is a huge undertaking for the court and correctional systems. The law is complicated and technical, and it has changed so many times since Justice Reinvestment in 2011 that it’s hard to keep track.

Among lawyers, probation doesn’t have the same cachet as topics like jury trials, capital punishment, and wrongful convictions. We don’t allocate much time to talk about it in our programs for new judges and lawyers. But I think probation is important—both by volume and by impact. I find that to be especially true when it comes to young defendants, for whom probation may be the first contact with the adult criminal justice system, and therefore an important fork in the road. In fact, I think probation is the most important subject I write about (perhaps tied for first with fines and fees).

With that in mind, I hope this new book will be helpful in your work. It covers the law and procedure of probation violation hearings in North Carolina, mostly following a chronological approach from the filing of a violation report to the response options available to the court after a hearing. Other topics addressed include delegated authority (including “quick dips”), the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, and the use of probation in deferred prosecution and conditional discharge cases.

Some of you may have seen an old tri-fold booklet on probation violations that I wrote back in 2013. There have been so many statutory changes and case law developments since then that you should not rely on that old booklet. Please use the new book instead. It doesn’t fold quite as cleverly, but it’s easier to read and cheaper to produce in a standard 8 ½ x 11 format. And still lime green.

Distribution. The Department of Public Safety purchased copies of the book for all probation/parole officers, chief probation/parole officers, field specialists, and managers. They will also be distributing copies to court officials over the next couple of months. So, for now, court officials do not need to request a copy of this book through AOC (unlike the new Sentencing Handbook, which is available upon request). Others wishing to purchase a copy can do so through the School of Government here.