NC Police can more easily access parole records
North Carolina police officers will now be able to check the incarceration and parole histories of people they stop. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will speed up the process of revoking parole. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: Police officers can already look up incarceration and parole histories. But in most cases that's only once they're seated at their desks with an internet connection handy and not while they're on the street. Keith Acree, a Department of Correction spokesman, expects more officers will search parole records since it will be part of a routine ID check. He says they won't be able to charge people with parole violations, but having the information instantly on hand will make it easier to report abuses to parole officers. "So if this person was caught doing something that would be a violation of their parole then in that sense it creates a greater sense of accountability for people under supervision," explains Acree. "It gives us more sets of eyes out there watching what people are doing." The police officer will have to call the parole office to relay the violation. Acree says the state is now looking at ways to eliminate that step and make it possible for an officer to electronically notify the parole office of a violation. The state's management of parole and post-release has come under scrutiny in two high-profile cases this month. Jerry Douglas Case was released from prison in December of 2007. He was arrested three times before being charged with kidnapping a Gaston county family this month. But the parole commission didn't permanently revoke his parole before the kidnapping charges because he hadn't been found guilty of crimes and he kept the terms of his parole. This new information sharing would make it easier for parole officers to track parole violations. In the second case, Patrick Burris went on to kill five people in Cherokee County after he was released from jail the same day the parole commission issued a warrant for his arrest. That warrant took eight days to process after his parole officer filed the initial violation report.