New Probation CRV Centers Open

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Have you ever eaten cake decorated with the name of a prison facility? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago, when I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Division of Adult Correction’s new CRV Center in Robeson County. CRV_cake1I’m glad I made the trip down to Lumberton—not just because of the cake (which turned out to be pretty good), but also because of what I learned about DAC’s vision for its new form of confinement for probation violators. Today’s post is intended to pass some of that information along to the judges and prosecutors who will send probationers to the CRV centers, and to the defense lawyers who will advise their clients about what to expect there.

The Robeson facility is one of two CRV centers that DAC opened last month. The other is in Burke County in Morganton, near the former Western Youth Institution. DAC reopened both sites under a legislative authorization to “convert closed facilities for use as treatment and behavior modification facilities.” S.L. 2014-100, section 16C.10. Effective immediately upon their opening, men ordered to serve a period of confinement in response to violation for a technical violation of felony probation (a violation other than a new crime or absconding) will serve their 90-day term of incarceration in one of the two centers.

The goal of the new centers is to provide a special type of treatment-focused behavior modification for probation violators. Previously, felony CRVs were being served in regular prison facilities, alongside inmates serving active sentences. The CRV centers are, as the name implies, exclusively for CRV inmates. The centers use dormitory-style housing similar to minimum security prison. Probation officers and prison case managers—not traditional correctional officers—work on site to supervise the inmates and facilitate their programming.

There are two primary components to that programming. The first is a form of cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) known as Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT). The second is a substance abuse curriculum called Living in Balance. In these programs, offenders participate in group sessions and complete workbook activities designed to promote moral reasoning and addiction recovery, respectively. Corrections officials emphasized to me that the substance abuse curriculum offered at the CRV centers is not intensive inpatient treatment. If a judge wants that for a probationer, he or she should order residential treatment at a place like DART-Cherry, not a CRV.

The emergence of the CRV centers coincides with the onset of a new jail credit rule for CRVs (discussed in this prior post) that kicked in for probation violations occurring on or after October 1, 2014. Under that rule, a probationer may not receive credit against a CRV for any time already served in the case, including time spent in detention awaiting the probation hearing at which the CRV is ordered. With that rule in place, any CRV ordered will be for a full 90 days—a change intended to allow DAC enough time to cycle the offender through a complete course of treatment. Along similar lines, DAC would prefer (to the extent logistically and legally permissible, of course) that defendants resolve other pending matters either before beginning a CRV or after completing it, to avoid any interruption in programming on account of a writ.

In addition to the statutory change related to jail credit, DAC has adjusted some of its administrative policies on CRV. For example, no longer are CRV inmates denied all visitation during their confinement—a rule that had prompted some to joke that CRV stood for “Can’t Receive Visitors.” Now, visitation is permitted after two weeks of good behavior.

From the courtroom perspective, the emergence of the CRV centers will be largely transparent. The place of confinement for the felony CRV indicated on the probation modification order (AOC-CR-609) should still be N.C. DAC. As before, it is the prison system (not the court) that will identify the particular facility within the system where the defendant will serve the time. G.S. 148-4. (Misdemeanor CRVs, by the way, are still served where the defendant would have served an active sentence, which will be the local jail or the Statewide Misdemeanor Confinement Program, as indicated in the chart available here.)

The creation of new CRV centers strikes me as further evidence of “the dunk” (as the New York Times referred to it) coming of age. DAC’s physical facilities and programmatic offerings are now catching up to the sweeping legal changes made by the Justice Reinvestment Act in 2011. Initial indications are that things are going well at the new centers, but they are still a work in progress. The male facilities are far from full capacity (at last check, 66 of 192 beds are occupied at Robeson, 39 of 248 at Burke), and there is not yet any dedicated CRV center for women. Legal questions will no doubt emerge. For instance, are defendants who leave the facility absconders, escapees, or both? For now, though, corrections officials are justifiably enthusiastic about their new project, and observers in North Carolina and across the country will be watching to see if it achieves its goals for revocation and recidivism reduction.

3 comments on “New Probation CRV Centers Open

  1. Dialectic and Cognitive therapy, known as behavioral modifcaiton methods, has proven to be the best tool in the box since the hammer, however, the person must first want to change their behavior, you can bring the horse to water but cant make it drink. We like the idea behind these “CRV” centers but why isn’t this concept of behavioral modification used inside the prison before release? We work with many prisoners with mental health issues inside and their family members, leading us to another concern; On December 11, NC-CURE addressed legislators and NC DPS regarding complaints concerning the lack of mental health treatment. So what about the co-occurring conditions e.g substance abuse and mental impairment with reports of over 67% of the current population having some type of mental health disorder. We know today that this class of people are known to be at high risk for recidivism. So why has this very important factor been overlooked. While NC DPS, believes to be the trailblazers for CJ reform, the National conversation is all about Mental Illness incarcerated. Before NC DPS labels themselves Nationally as successful reformers, they had better rethink their approach to the treatment of mental health and community support. Perhaps hiring qualified leadership to run the mental health department would be a good start, since Terry Catlett,PA and Deputy Chief of Medical, has no professional credential for treating the mentally ill.

  2. In theory, this sounded like a good program. Reality is the program is a failure and it has grave impact on violators who can’t afford to post bail.

    The goal “any CRV ordered will be for a full 90 days” doesn’t appear to about time of incarceration. Violators who can’t post bail are now required to be incarcerated over 90 days. The true number of days incarcerated depends on how many times the trial date moved prior to the CRV sentencing. Violators who can post bond serve only time from their trial date.

    Besides the unconstitutional longer incarceration time for violators who can’t post bail, this program will continue to fail without drastic changes to the process flow and accountability for this program. The statistic of 66 out of 192 beds occupied in the new CRV facility is not a surprise. The process time for one filing of a probation modification order took 45 days by NCDAC. The filing time could have been substantially longer without constant follow-up and pressure from violator’s family. This violator has been incarcerated since Jan 2, 2015. Even though the Judge sentenced this violator to 90 day CRV, they have not been taken to a CRV center nor given any course of treatment specified in this article. The Judge even stated he felt the violator needed additional treatment since he didn’t feel they learned from previous treatment “DART-Cherry”.

    This violator was in jail for 75 days before anyone (Public Defender, Probation Officer, Chief Probation Officer, Magistrate, Jail Records) could answer when he would be transferred and what his release date would be. This violator is still awaiting transfer (date/location unknown) and they have been told their release date will be 90 days from the court date; total 120 days total incarceration on a 90 day CRV sentence.

    In conclusion, this modification (new program) has created a political nightmare of finger-pointing, lost/delayed paperwork, confusion on part of all personnel associated with courts and jail, unconstitutional longer sentencing for violators who can’t post bail, overhead cost of under utilized facilities and program sponsors, absent incentive/punishment for NCDAC to process violator’s timely and a complete absence of chain of command for escalating issues with the process and ensuring violator’s achieve proper sentencing.

  3. My son was sentenced to this 90 day CRV program at Burke County as we found about this program every bit of 15 minutes before he would go in front of the judge. Under pressure we made the agreement to plea for the CRV as my son is face a full 4 years if his sentence became active. Had we not been so pressured we would have never agreed to this program. 1) My son does not have a drug problem but is still required to participate in every course in every session when he has never failed any drug test. 2) The lawyer did not have any information on the program. Under assumption we figured it would be basically the same as a county jail or prison. It’s seems more like a camp where the inmates pretty much sneak and smoke and do drugs that are thrown over the fence! I’m am so outraged with this place it is unbelievable. My son does not have a violent charge other than having a gun which was for protection that I am unable to mention in this post. My son is 19, worked 2 jobs and was a college student. They assigned him to this place for behavior and substance abuse transformation in which his has no record or problem of either. They have to earn everything they get for canteen and of course there’s no way there are enough jobs to allow inmates a chance for them to earn money. It is a absolute nightmare! When it’s lights out inmates are up smoking in the bathroom and congregating at other areas and this is allowed by the correctional officers. This is what we pay our tax money for!!! My son has anxiety issues and being in this dormitory living is affecting him severely! It just seem like no one actually enforces the rules, by the way you won’t find much information on how things operate, it’s almost as if it’s made up as it goes. I have put in for a transfer back to the county and jail he was originally at to finish the remainder of the time. I’m praying and believing that he will get this transferred cluster to home. There are a lot things that should be reevaluated on every aspect.

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