Effective January 1, 2023, the state correctional system was transferred from the Department of Public Safety to its own cabinet-level department, the Department of Adult Correction. S.L. 2021-180, sec. 19C.9. The new department includes prisons and probation; juvenile justice will stay in the Department of Public Safety. After 16 years at the School of Government, I will be taking a leave of absence to work as the Senior Policy Advisor for the new department.
For most of my time at the School, I have focused on the law of sentencing and corrections. I get lots of questions about how sentences are administered and how probation officers carry out their work. I am confident that my understanding of those issues will be enriched by the time I spend working within the department. In addition to my advisory duties I will be responsible for Combined Records, Victim Services, and the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission—all of which have important connections to the court system and other local government partners. After years of consulting from Chapel Hill on issues related to those offices, I’m excited to get directly involved in their work.
Though I will be working in Raleigh, some of you may see me in Chapel Hill from time to time. I will continue to teach the School of Government’s long-running Sentencing Seminar, as well as various new official training sessions for judges, lawyers, magistrates, and sheriffs. I intend to help coordinate correctional facility tours and information sharing between Adult Correction and the courts. As I have often said during my time at the School, there is no substitute for having visited a place yourself when it comes to thinking about whether a particular sentencing option will amount to justice in a particular case.
I’m grateful to the Secretary of Adult Correction for the opportunity to serve in this new role, and to the administration at the School of Government for supporting my leave. I’m also thankful for the support of my wonderful colleagues, who will likely have to do more work while I’m away.