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					                             The Newsletter of North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.

            NCPLS ACCESS
                      Serving North Carolina’s Inmates
                                      Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

               Issues with North Carolina’s SBI Crime Lab
                                 Mary S. Pollard, NCPLS Executive Director

    Many inmates have written         by the SBI that proved that the               reported as finding that blood was,
NCPLS in recent months asking         substance found on Mr. Taylor’s               in fact, present.
whether issues raised in recent       truck was not blood. He further
news reports about problems with      testified that this type of reporting                   (continued on page 2)
the State Bureau of Investigation     complied with SBI policy.
(―SBI‖) crime lab can help them
get relief from their convictions.        After    a     public     outcry
                                      surrounding       Greg      Taylor’s
    While defense attorneys have      exoneration,     North     Carolina           In this issue:
raised questions about the quality    Attorney General Roy Cooper
                                                                                    Issues with North Carolina’s SBI Crime Lab 1
of work coming out of the SBI         commissioned an audit of the
crime lab for many years, the         serology section of the SBI lab.              Outside but Still Looking In                 3
February 2010 exoneration of Greg     The     serology     section    was           No Life without Parole for Minors Who Do
Taylor by the North Carolina          responsible for analysis of blood             Not Commit Murder                        4
Innocence Inquiry Commission          and bodily fluids. The audit report           Access to the Courts in North Carolina        5
brought public attention to the lab   was released in late August and               Deportation of Potential Victim of Torture
and its policies and procedures.      was highly critical of the                    Stopped                                       7
                                      operations in the serology section.           NCPLS Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of
    During Mr. Taylor’s 1993 trial                                                  Disabled Inmates                           7
for first-degree murder, the jury         The auditors reviewed cases               MAR Won for Client Who Was Convicted
heard testimony about an SBI          handled in the section between                based on Deputies’ Misconduct        9
report that stated that a substance   1997 and 2003, and reported 230               Bowden Litigation Update                     9
on Mr. Taylor’s truck tested          cases where they discovered                   Free Legal Clinic                            10
positive for the presence of blood.   problems with reporting of results
                                                                                    Survey for Women Inmates                     11
During Mr. Taylor’s hearing           on suspected bloodstains. This
before the Commission, SBI agent      included a number of cases where              What is the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry
                                                                                    Commission?                               11
Duane Deaver testified that he had    testing that confirmed that no
failed to report the results of       blood was present on an object was            Report on New Legislation in N.C.            12
further confirmatory testing done
Page 2                                                                                      Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

                                                         (continued from page 1)            testimony about flawed science
                                                                                            will receive relief in the courts. It
                                                    The auditors cited a number of          is not likely that an inmate will
                                                    causes for the problems, including      receive a new trial based on flawed
                                                    poorly crafted policy, lack of          scientific evidence unless the court
                                                    objectivity,    and    ineffective      is convinced that the scientific
                                                    management.                             evidence contributed to the jury’s
                                                                                            decision to render a guilty verdict.
                                                        Also in August, the Raleigh         If the scientific testimony was
                                                    News & Observer printed a series        offered in addition to other
  This issue is dedicated to John Quincy            of articles that were highly critical   significant    testimony      of   a
Adams, the sixth President of the United States     of SBI lab practices and SBI agent      defendant’s guilt, the conviction
of America.      A staunch abolitionist and         training. The News & Observer           will likely stand. On the other
outstanding attorney of the highest order, he
fearlessly (and successfully) represented the       series highlighted several cases        hand, if the scientific evidence was
defendants in U.S. v. Amistad Africans before       involving scientifically suspect        used to bolster what was otherwise
the United States Supreme Court, thus winning       testimony about ballistics and          a weak case for the prosecution, a
the freedom for the mutinying slaves. John
Quincy Adams believed that the rule of law          blood stain pattern analysis.           reviewing court might grant a new
applied to every human being regardless of                                                  trial.
contemporary public opinion.                            In the aftermath of the audit
                                                    and the News & Observer series,              NCPLS       attorneys     keep
     NCPLS Access is a publication of               the Attorney General replaced the       informed about developments in
 North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.       director of the SBI, reassigned the     forensic science. Even before the
              Executive Director
                                                    head of the SBI crime lab, and          recent press about the SBI crime
               Mary S. Pollard                      suspended the work in the               lab, NCPLS attorneys were
                                                    bloodstain pattern analysis unit of     involved in investigating and
                Tod M. Leaven                       the lab.                                litigating cases where the improper
                                                                                            use of questionable forensic
                  Publisher                             SBI crime lab analysts testify      science – such as bullet lead
                 Mike Pearson
                                                    about many types of forensic            analysis – may have led to
                                                    testing, including but not limited to   wrongful convictions.       If you
  Established in 1978, NCPLS is a non-profit,       DNA, ballistics, blood stain pattern    believe that tainted science was an
public service organization. The program is
governed by a Board of Directors whose              analysis,      and      fingerprints.   important part of a jury’s decision
members      are   designated    by   various       Attorneys throughout the state,         to convict you, please write to tell
organizations and institution, including the        including a task force of               us about it.
North Carolina Bar Association, the North
Carolina Advocates for Justice, the ACLU of         representatives from the North
North Carolina, and the Office of Indigent          Carolina Advocates for Justice, are
Defense Services.                                   asking for a broader independent
  NCPLS serves a population of more than            audit of all sections of the lab. A
41,000 prisoners and 14,000 pretrial detainees      committee of the state legislature is
(with about 250,000 annual admissions),             studying the problems.             A
providing       information,      advice,    and
representation in all State and federal courts to   nationwide search is underway for
ensure humane conditions of confinement and         a new lab director.
to challenge illegal convictions and sentences.

                                                        Evidence that the scientific
 Articles, ideas, and suggestions are welcome.
   Email us at or write to:
                                                    testimony presented at trial was
                                                    flawed can, in some circumstances,
                NCPLS Editor
            Post Office Box 25397                   support a request for a new trial.
        Raleigh, North Carolina 27611               However, not every inmate whose
                                                    conviction may have involved
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                            Page 3

                               Outside but Still Looking In
                 Glen Edward Chapman, North Carolina’s 7th Exonerated Death Row Inmate
              Pamela Laughon, Ph.D., Mitigation Investigator for State v. Glen Edward Chapman

    On April 2, 2008, Glen Edward      what he thought of those who           to kindly accept help when it was
Chapman, a native of Hickory,          came before me?                        offered.
NC, was released from Death Row
after spending 4887 days for two           Having met with over 100               Over the two years since his
murders he did not commit.             capital murder defendants before       release, Ed has become a fully
During his 14 years in NC-DOC,         Ed, I know that inmates come in a      functioning and productive citizen
he lost his mother and wife, the       couple of basic forms: a) a happy      of this state. His positive spirit is
chance to raise two young sons,        and receptive group, who are eager     contagious, and his kindness has
and eventually his dignity as a        to talk, answer questions, and are     been met by the kindness of others,
man. He spent his days like many       grateful for any help; and b) an       many times over. He does not
of you: eating the same nutra-loaf     angry and sullen group, who talk       think of himself as a victim of an
at chow time, listening to the same    rarely and most often in negative      unjust system but rather as a
maddening sounds, desperately          terms, and are suspicious and          survivor, and he has forgiven
waiting for letters or cards,          mistrusting of almost everyone. I      completely those who transgressed
wondering why his ―loved ones‖         was prepared to meet either.           against him, in favor of moving on
had not visited, learning to sleep                                            in life. He has a special message
with the lights on, and cursing             I walked into the visitation      for you in his own words to follow,
attorneys who seemed invisible.        booth, where Ed displayed one of       but I want to stress once again the
He blamed others, he blamed            his best character traits, and one     lesson shown by his character:
himself, and he ―cried like a baby‖,   that may have ultimately saved his     Learn how to seek, receive, and
for the first three years. He was on   life: His impressive ability to        appreciate the help that is offered
the inside looking out, in despair     request and accept help, when it is    to you. If you can do that one
and without a plan for change.         needed. I met a man who was            thing, you may suddenly find that
                                       warm, friendly, frustrated but         more help comes your way.
    I know Ed’s story vividly          hopeful, and asking for help in a
because I was his mitigation           positive and trusting way. I would      In Edward Chapman’s words:
investigator, which means it was       later    learn     that        Ed’s
my job to know and understand          metamorphosis from hopelessness            I come to you with knowledge,
every detail of Ed’s life, from his    to proactivity began in his fourth     wisdom,       and     understanding,
birth until the day we met. It         year of incarceration, when he         having been where you are. I too
would be my job to save Ed’s life,     began to study his case, seek out      was lost in a dream world created
if he ever found himself in a trial    the counsel of wise inmates, and       by thinking that I knew it all. I
or hearing at which his sentence       write anyone who might be able to      foolishly continued down the road
was at stake. I first met Ed in        help.     He built an emotional        of destruction, blinded by my own
2002, eight years into two death       support network on the Row, wrote      ignorance and tendency to blame
sentences and a long, dry spell        in his journal to organize and clear   others. I put myself at risk for the
with no outside contact.          I    his thoughts, and responded            situation I later found myself in, by
rehearsed carefully my apology         positively to anyone who reached       running the streets, keeping
speech on the drive down to            out to him. He persisted in the        company with less than reputable
Central Prison, and I wondered         face of no encouragement, and          folks, and not valuing myself as a
what kind of man I would meet.         occasionally it paid off. In short,    person who could do better than
Would he be angry and                  he learned how to ask for help with    that in life.
uncooperative, or would he             dignity and style, and he was able             (continued on page 4)
welcome my assistance, no matter
Page 4                                                                          Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

     (continued from page 3)           to society, and to myself. See,          with grace and a measure of
                                       there was something within me            appreciation. It doesn’t pay to
    I have been free now for over      that kept me from truly seeing and       close doors – help can arrive from
two years, and my life is filled       believing in my own self-worth.          the least likely of sources. Treat
with many blessings from the           Now we can stand here and blame          others with respect, and you too
lessons I learned as an incarcerated   it on society, our parents, or others,   shall be respected in return.
inmate.        I made life-long        but in doing do, we short-change
friendships on death row, and I        and invalidate ourselves. Maybe              I may be on the outside now,
think of those men as my family        we can blame the system for how it       but I’m still looking in on my
even today. During the first few       mentally destroys a human being.         brothers and sisters inside. And I
months of my freedom, I had a          I lived for 14 years with folks          want to share one big lesson that
hard time sleeping and living with     telling me I was in prison to be put     my life has taught me so far: This
the everyday sounds of life. I slept   to death – I know the damage that        world doesn’t owe you anything,
with a tennis racket and a broom       can do.                                  and that attitude will get you
nearby out of fear, and I felt that                                             nowhere.       Each of us owes
someone was going to try and ruin          But when we are thinking more        something to this world, and there
this – my new beginning. I stayed      clearly, we have to know we can          are people out there who can and
ready to defend myself, the result     be better. Our betterment comes          will help, if you can’t figure it out
of many years of having to             from loving ourselves, and being         on your own. You may have to
maintain this state of hyper-          willing to examine those gray,           reach out more than once, but it
vigilance while in prison.             uncertain areas where we can still       will pay off over time. In short,
                                       hear reverberations of negative          you are only alone if you choose to
   It was an uphill battle to regain   mantras that held us back and            be. There is a future even in the
my freedom, and now that I’m out       down. It comes from reaching out         darkest moments – I’m living
from behind bars, I am striving to     to those who can and want to help        proof.
be my best to make a contribution      us, and from accepting their help

                         No Life without Parole for Minors
                          Who Do Not Commit Murder
                                       Hoang Lam, NCPLS Staff Attorney

    On May 17, 2010, in Graham                                                  leave the minor with any chance to
v. Florida, the United States                                                   become reformed and rejoin
Supreme Court held that an                                                      society.
offender who was under 18 years
old and did not commit murder                                                       The Court then said that
may not be sentenced to life                                                    although the government is not
without parole.                                                                 required to guarantee such an
                                                                                offender eventual release, it must
    The Court noted that these                                                  give him ―some meaningful
minors do not have maturity and        for a young offender whose               opportunity to obtain release based
can easily be influenced by outside    character is still being formed does     on demonstrated maturity and
pressures. So they are less guilty     not serve the government’s               rehabilitation.‖
and less deserving of a serious        interests for punishment and for
punishment such as life without        preventing other minors from                    (continued on page 5)
parole. Also, life without parole      committing crimes, nor does it
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                                             Page 5

      (continued from page 4)              defendants did not commit murder,              18 at the time of the crimes.
                                           were under 18 at the time, and                 Please let us know if you or
    In light of this U.S. Supreme          received long overall sentence                 someone you know has a case in
Court     decision,   NCPLS     is         similar to life without parole; and            either category.
currently evaluating the sentences         2) defendants who were convicted
in two types of cases from: 1)             of felony murder and were under

                            Satisfying a Prisoner’s Constitutional Right
                                           Tod Leaven, NCPLS Staff Attorney

     The United States Supreme             meaningful.‖4 In further defining              legal services is also more
Court has stated that ―[b]ecause a         this, the Supreme Court of the                 beneficial to illiterate and non-
prisoner ordinarily is divested of         United States held that ―the                   English speaking inmates as well
the privilege to vote, the right to        fundamental constitutional right of            as to inmates housed on a more
file a court action might be said to       access to the courts requires prison           controlled custody classification.7
be his remaining most fundamental          authorities to assist inmates in the           Regarding legal services, neither
political       right,       because       preparation      and    filing    of           North Carolina’s expenditure of
preservative of all rights.‖1 The          meaningful legal papers by                     funds to appoint counsel in some
Supreme Court of the United                providing prisoners with adequate              post-conviction proceedings nor
States jealously protects the right        law libraries or adequate assistance           North Carolina’s Inmate Grievance
of access to the courts and has            from persons trained in the law.‖5             Commission        answered     this
cited five independent sources in                                                         constitutional requirement.8 This
the Constitution of the United                                                            is why North Carolina provides
States which protect this right: the                                                      funding to North Carolina Prisoner
Privileges and Immunities Clause                                                          Legal     Services     ("NCPLS").9
of Article IV, the First Amendment                                                        (continued on page 6)
Petition     Clause,     the    Fifth
Amendment Due Process Clause,                                                             discipline or security or increase hostility
the Fourteenth Amendment Equal                                                            toward the institution. Rather, over 80%
                                                                                          felt legal services provide a safety valve
Protection Clause, and the
                                                                                          for inmate grievances, reduce inmate
Fourteenth      Amendment        Due                                                      power structures, and tensions from
Process Clause. North Carolina                Prisoner     legal     services             unresolved legal problems, and contribute
Courts hold that the North Carolina        programs were noted as a preferred             to rehabilitation by providing a positive
Constitution           independently       method by state corrections                    experience with the legal system.).
                                                                                            See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 348
protects this access.3           For       commissioners, prison wardens,                 (1996) (stating that though prisoner legal
prisoners, this access must be             and treatment directors.6 Prisoner             services would be beneficial for illiterate
―adequate,        effective,     and                                                      inmates, non-English speaking inmates,
                                                                                          and inmates on lock-down, a systemic
                                              Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822          injunction is not proper when the injury
                                           (1977).                                        from this deprivation is not also
1                                          5
  McCarty v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140, 153      Id. at 828.                                  systemic).
                                           6                                              8
(1992) (Quoting Yick Wo v. Hopkins,          Id. at 830 n.18 (Nearly 95% of the state       Bounds, 430 U.S. at 828 n.17.
118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886)) (internal        corrections       commissioners,      prison      Maureen Berner & Joe Gavrilovich,
quotations omitted).                       wardens,       and    treatment    directors   Evaluation of North Carolina Prisoner
  Christopher v. Hardbury, 536 U.S. 403,   responding to a national survey supported      Legal Services 3 (April 27, 2007),
415 n.12 (2002).                           creation and expansion of prison legal
  Smith v. Beck, 195 N.C.App. 785, 2009    services . . . . Almost 85% believe that the   Data/Latest%20Releases/ncpls%20final%
WL 677918, 5-6 (2009).                     programs would not adversely affect            20report%20 may%202007.pdf (stating
Page 6                                                                                      Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

      (continued from page 5)                  satisfy prisoners’ constitutional                 requirement which, because of
    Though the Court has since                 rights of access to the court.12                  deficiencies in the prison’s legal
                                                                                                 assistance facilities, he could not
defined some thresholds an inmate              Both federal and state courts have                have know. Or that he had
must cross before filing a claim for           found that NCPLS fulfills this                    suffered arguably actionable
inadequate court access,10 it has              constitutional mandate in North                   harm that he wished to bring
continually held that the States are           Carolina for both prisons and                     before the courts, but was so
constitutionally    mandated      to           jails.13    The North Carolina                    stymied by inadequacies of the
                                                                                                 law library that he was unable
provide assistance to inmates in the           Department of Correction even                     even to file a complaint.16
preparation and filing of legal                refers friends and families of
papers.11 As stated above, this can            inmates, as well as inmates                      Regarding interference claims,
be satisfied by either providing               themselves, to NCPLS for legal               the United States Supreme Court
access to an adequate legal library            services and access to the courts.14         holds that ―[r]egulations and
or providing adequate assistance                                                            practices that unjustifiably obstruct
from persons trained in the law.                    The three basic claims inmates          the availability of professional
                                                     assert are right to assistance,        representation or other aspects of
    In 1989, North Carolina                          interference, and retaliation.         the right of access to the courts are
stopped providing law libraries and                                                         invalid.‖ 17 What is important here
relied solely upon NCPLS to                        As explained above, the right            is that prison restrictions will be
                                               to assistance is satisfied in North          upheld if they have a reasonable
                                               Carolina by Prisoner Legal                   relationship      to       legitimate
that though North Carolina has financed
NCPLS through various agencies, its            Services, Inc. In bringing a right           penological goals.18 This includes
purpose is to provide legal assistance and     to assistance claim, an inmate must          limiting the amount of legal
advice to the North Carolina prison            show an actual injury. This means            paperwork prisoners possess. The
population, pursuant to Bounds v. Smith,       ―that a nonfrivolous legal claim             destruction of legal paperwork
430 U.S. 817 (1977), which established
                                               had been frustrated or was being             outside of legitimate penological
the constitutional right of all prisoners to
have meaningful access to the courts.).        impeded.‖15 The United States                goals may be actionable.19
The purpose clause of the contract             Supreme Court gave us two
between the North Carolina Office of           examples of what this means in                   The Supreme Court of the
Indigent Defense Services and NCPLS            Lewis v. Casey:
states:                                                                                     United States has said that
             This contract is entered into                                                  ―retaliation       offends       the
                                                           [A   showing]    that    a
   this 24th day of February 2006
                                                      complaint [an inmate] prepared
                                                                                            Constitution [because] it threatens
   between the North Carolina Office of                                                     to inhibit exercise of the protected
                                                      was dismissed for failure to
   Indigent        Defense        Services
                                                      satisfy     some      technical       right.‖20 The problem here is
   (hereinafter referred to as ―IDS‖) and
   North Carolina Prisoner Legal                                                            proving that the action was indeed
   Services, Inc. (hereinafter referred to     12
                                                  Smith v. Beck, 195 N.C.App. 785, 2009     retaliatory. You must produce
   as ―NCPLS‖), for the purpose of             WL 677918, 1 (2009).                         evidence and, even then, courts are
   providing legal services to inmates in         See, e.g., Fowler v. Lee, 18 Fed.Appx.    very suspicious.21
   the custody of the North Carolina           164, 166 (4th Cir. 2001); Mims v.
   Department of Correction (hereinafter       Williams, 2009 WL 454598, 1
   referred to as ―DOC‖) in accordance         (W.D.N.C.,2009); Coil v. Peterkin, 2009
   with the constitutional principles set      WL 3247848, 10 (M.D.N.C.,2009);                 Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351.
   forth in Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S.          Wrenn v. Freeman, 894 F.Supp. 244               Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396,
   817 (1977), and Lewis v. Casey, 518         (E.D.N.C. 1995); Beck, 195 N.C.App.          419 (1974).
   U.S. 343 (1996).                            785 at 2-6.                                     Lewis, 581 U.S. at 361-62.
10                                             14                                           19
   Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351-53             North Carolina Department of               Carter v. Hutto, 781 F.2d 1028, 1032
(1996) (holding that an inmate must show       Correction,     Division     of   Prisons,   (4th Cir. 1986).
that he was, or is, suffering actual injury    Handbook for Family and Friends of              Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574,
by being frustrated or impeded in bringing     Inmates 25-6 (2010), available at:           588 n.10 (1998).
a non-frivolous claim about his criminal       Dawes v. Walker, 239 F.3d 489, 491
conviction or sentence or the conditions       010handbook.pdf.                             (2nd Cir. 2001) (courts must approach
of his confinement).                              Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351-53      prisoner claims of retaliation with
   Id. at 351.                                 (1996).                                      skepticism and particular care).
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                          Page 7

         Deportation of Potential Victim of Torture Stopped
                                       Hoang Lam, NCPLS Staff Attorney

     In 2009, the Immigration and                                             the country when he feared that the
Customs       Enforcement     (ICE)                                           government had discovered his
initiated deportation proceedings                                             action.
against P.R., who had completed a
sentence of forty-four months for                                                 Two NCPLS attorneys and a
several North Carolina offenses.                                              law school student represented
These criminal offenses, arising                                              P.R. in the immigration court. We
out of his lack of understanding of                                           presented evidence, including an
U.S. culture and law, are                                                     expert’s testimony, showing the
aggravated        felonies    under                                           Vietnamese            government’s
immigration law and restricted                                                persecution of ethnic minorities
several     reliefs    that  would                                            and the likelihood that P.R. would
otherwise have been available to                                              be tortured if returned to Vietnam.
him.      P.R. wrote to NCPLS          clothing to the protestors who had     The immigration judge was
seeking immigration assistance.        gone in to hiding following the        persuaded and stopped the
                                       Vietnamese            government’s     deportation. Subsequently, P.R.
    P.R. is an ethnic minority from    crackdown on their demonstrations      was released from immigration
Vietnam who came to the United         for equality and land rights for the   detention.
States as a refugee. While in          indigenous minorities. Eventually,
Vietnam, P.R. smuggled food and        P.R. joined them in fleeing from

                         NCPLS Files Class Action Lawsuit
                          on Behalf of Disabled Inmates
                            Emily Coward and Ann Ferrari, NCPLS Staff Attorneys

    On September 17, 2010,             discrimination violates federal        the named plaintiffs, but also all
NCPLS filed a federal lawsuit          laws protecting the rights of the      present and future disabled inmates
alleging that disabled inmates         disabled and seeking (1) a             within the DOC who face or may
within the DOC are discriminated       declaration that the DOC is            face these problems.        NCPLS
against in accessing sentence          currently in violation of the          hopes that a successful resolution
reduction credit programs which        Americans with Disabilities Act        of this lawsuit will benefit all
allow non-disabled inmates to          and the Rehabilitation Act; and (2)    disabled prisoners within the DOC.
work, take classes or participate in   an order requiring the DOC to
programs, and thereby reduce their     provide disabled inmates with the         Plaintiffs Claim that DOC’s
term of incarceration towards their    opportunity to access the sentence     Policies and Practices Force
minimum       sentence.           In   reduction     credits     currently    them to Serve Longer Sentences
Bumgarner, et al. v. North             available to non-disabled inmates.     Because of Their Disabilities
Carolina       Department         of   NCPLS also filed a Motion for
Correction, et al., NCPLS              Class Certification with the              As most Access readers know,
represents a group of disabled         Complaint, requesting permission       under the Structured Sentencing
plaintiffs claiming that this          from the Court to represent not just           (continued on page 8)
Page 8                                                                         Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

         (continued from page 7)        are not considered ―medically          represent a variety of challenges
Act, defendants are sentenced to a      unfit‖ but only ―limited for some      experienced by disabled inmates
range of months. In order to            but not all work or program            seeking to access sentence
promote good behavior in prison,        activities‖, the DOC policies          reduction credit programs within
and to help inmates learn skills that   specify that each will be ―given an    the DOC. For this reason, NCPLS
will increase their chances of          available assignment appropriate to    does not seek to add additional
successfully returning to society       his or her medical/mental health       named plaintiffs to the lawsuit at
upon release, inmates are supposed      condition and physical disability.‖    this time.       However, NCPLS
to be able to work their way            However, the reality often is that     would like to continue to provide
toward their minimum sentence.          the DOC simply makes no such           assistance while this lawsuit is
Non-disabled inmates earn time off      assignments available for such         pending to disabled inmates
their sentences through ―gain time‖     inmates. Disabled inmates in this      attempting to access the existing
or ―earned time‖ programs, which        situation, regardless of their         sentence reduction credit programs
provide them access to jobs,            otherwise good behavior, simply        (to the extent currently possible).
classes, and other programs. For        cannot earn days off their sentence.   In addition, as disabled inmates are
disabled inmates, it is another                                                members of the class NCPLS seeks
story. Most are prevented from                                                 to represent, NCPLS hopes you
accessing these programs by                                                    will write to us about your
restrictions placed on their                                                   situation. The more information
activities by prison medical staff.                                            NCPLS can gather about these
                                                                               violations, the better NCPLS can
    Although the DOC has a                                                     advocate for disabled inmates.
specific program for ―medically                                                Further, NCPLS would like to hear
unfit‖ offenders, this program is                                              from anyone considering filing
only open to the most severely                                                 such a claim on their own, in the
disabled individuals, those that it                                            hopes of addressing concerns and
determines are ―unable to engage                                               eliminating the need for separate
in any available work or programs                                              and potentially conflicting lawsuits
or other assignments‖. Even those           This holds true even for those     regarding the same issues.
offenders who are so disabled that      inmates who are unfortunate
they are eligible for this special      enough to become severely ill in           Based on the correspondence
program are discriminated against       prison, such as those battling         received from North Carolina
in that they earn days off at two-      cancer. Such inmates, regardless       inmates over the years, NCPLS
thirds the rate available to non-       of whether they were playing by        knows that discrimination in
disabled inmates. At this rate,         the rules and earning days off their   sentence reduction credit programs
many disabled inmates can never         sentences when they were healthy,      is a major source of frustration for
achieve their minimum sentences.        are often removed from their           disabled inmates. NCPLS filed
In addition, regardless of how          assignments because of medical         this lawsuit because we believe
disabled an inmate might be,            treatment needs.        For these      that no one should be serving more
certain prison facilities simply do     inmates, getting sick means not        time in prison simply because he
not make this special medical           just dealing with the illness, but     or she has a disability. NCPLS
program      available    to   their    also serving more time as a result     will litigate this case with the best
residents.                              of their disability.                   interests of disabled inmates in
                                                                               mind, and sincerely hopes that it
   On top of that, for the large           The circumstances of the            will bring relief to all disabled
number of disabled inmates who          named plaintiffs in this lawsuit       inmates within the DOC.
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                                      Page 9

         MAR Won for Client Who Was Convicted Based on
                     Deputies’ Misconduct
                                                 Hoang Lam, NCPLS Staff Attorney

    In 2001, in Robeson County,                  active sentence of 200 months            be set aside. At a hearing this
North Carolina, D.C. and his                     minimum.        In pleading guilty,      year, the State consented to the
attorney unsuccessfully argued that              D.C. intended to preserve for            MAR and further worked out a
the contraband seized from D.C.’s                appeal the trial court’s denial of his   new plea agreement with D.C.
home should be suppressed                        motion to suppress, but his              Under this new plea agreement,
because the sheriff’s deputies had               attorney failed to do so.                D.C. received a reduced sentence
provided false information to the                                                         of 95 months and probation. D.C.
magistrate in order to get a search                 NCPLS attorneys filed a               completed the active sentence in
warrant. In 2002, D.C. pled guilty               motion for appropriate relief            September, 2010, and was
to several felonies and received an              (MAR) asking that his convictions        released.

                                        Bowden Litigation Update
                                               Sarah Jessica Parker, NCPLS Staff Attorney

    Inmates Alford Jones and Faye                for crimes committed between                 In      December,      NCPLS
Brown lost their cases in the North              April 4, 1974 and June 30, 1978.         attorneys Emily Coward, Sarah
Carolina Supreme Court, but the                  During that time frame, ―life‖ was       Jessica Farber, and Mary Pollard
fight for their freedom is not                   defined by statute as 80 years, not      as well as Glenn Barfield, an
over.22                                          as the span of one’s natural life.24     attorney in private practice with
                                                 Last October, it appeared that these     Haitchcock, Barfield, Hulse &
    Mr. Jones and Ms. Brown are                  folks were going to be released          Kinsey, PLLC, won those petitions
two of the 27 people that should                 because their sentences had              in the Wayne and Wake County
have been released last October                  expired, but they were not               Superior Courts. However, the
following the North Carolina                     released. NCPLS filed Petitions          Department of Correction asked
Supreme Court’s decision in State                for Writs of Habeas Corpus to ask        the North Carolina Supreme Court
v. Bowden.23                                     the Department of Correction to          to review the cases, and the
                                                 release Alford Jones and Faye            Superior Court decisions were
    State v. Bowden and Jones and                Brown in November.                       stayed pending the North Carolina
Brown all involve persons                                                                 Supreme Court’s review. Several
sentenced to ―life‖ imprisonment                                                          attorneys from the Office of the
                                                                                          Appellate Defender, including Ms.
   Jones v. Keller, No. 518PA09 (N.C.                                                     Katherine      Jane   Allen    and
August 27, 2010); Brown v. N.C. Dep’t of                                                  Appellate      Defender     Staples
Correction, __ N.C. __, 637 S.E.2d 327                                                    Hughes, represented Mr. Jones and
(2010).                                                                                   Ms. Brown at the Supreme Court
   193 N.C. App. 597, 668 S.E.2d 107
(2008), disc. rev. improvidently allowed,                                                 level. At the end of August, the
363 N.C. 621, 683 S.E.2d 208 (2009)                                                       North Carolina Supreme Court
(holding that N.C. G.S. § 14-2 (1974)                                                     issued an opinion that ultimately
defined a sentence of life imprisonment as                                                meant that Mr. Jones and Ms.
a sentence of 80 years incarceration for all                                              Brown would not be released.
purposes of sentencing and punishment,
including the determination of                                                                   (continued on page 10)
unconditional release dates).                         N.C.G.S. § 14-2 (1974).
Page 10                                                                        Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

      (continued from page 9)           the body. In practice, habeas          for state prisoners. That did not
    Today, Mr. Jones and Ms.            corpus describes the legal action or   become available until after the
Browns are continuing to fight          writ by which a prisoner may           Civil War, and is now codified at
their cases in the federal courts. In   challenge the lawfulness of his or     28 U.S.C. § 2241 et seq.
addition,      NCPLS        attorneys   her detention.
Vernetta Alston and Sarah Jessica
Farber have filed more than two                                                     It is important not to file any
dozen habeas corpus petitions for a                                            Habeas corpus proceeding lightly.
group of other inmates who the                                                 The statute governing state habeas
DOC has previously acknowledged                                                corpus petitions imply than an
have completed their sentences in                                              inmate is only able to file a habeas
various courts across the state.                                               proceeding once. Federal habeas
Inmates who believe they are                                                   litigation is more complicated and
serving what the DOC now calls                                                 requires      that   any       federal
―Statutory Life‖ or ―SL-80‖                                                    Constitutional issues raised in the
sentences who have not yet                   The        United        States   petition have first been brought
contacted NCPLS are encouraged          Constitution provides that it ―shall   before a state court. In addition to
to do so.                               not be suspended, unless when in       reviewing the cases of inmates
                                        cases of rebellion or invasion the     who believe they were wrongfully
       What is a Writ of                public safety may require it,‖ U.S.    convicted or sentenced, NCPLS
       Habeas Corpus?                   Const. Art. I, § 9, cl. 2, and         provides a manual and forms, upon
                                        Chapter 17 of North Carolina’s         request, to inmates who wish to
    Habeas corpus is a Latin            General Statutes describe its uses     challenge their convictions through
phrase dating back hundreds of          in the state’s courts. When the        post-conviction            litigation,
years in the legal field. Literally     United States was first organized,     including writs of habeas corpus.
translated, it means, You may have      there was no federal habeas review

                           Free Legal Information Clinic for
                            Formerly Incarcerated People
                           April Giancola, NCPLS Post Conviction Managing Attorney

    Since April of 2008, NCPLS,         She spearheaded the effort of              At the time, former NCPLS
with the help of several community      Justice 4ALL, which included a         Staff Attorney Ken Butler was the
partners, has been hosting a            statewide service day - and            Chair of the Professionalism
quarterly Free Legal Information        recruited thousands of volunteer       Committee. He decided to create a
Clinic advertised to the Formerly       attorneys across the State to          walk-in legal clinic for formerly
Incarcerated Community.         It's    participate in an ask a lawyer day     incarcerate      people     where
genesis began with the efforts at       where people could call a number       individuals could come in and talk
the      North      Carolina   Bar      and talk with an attorney about        with an attorney for free about
Association.       In 2008 then         their legal problem. Ms. Black         their civil legal issue. Our first
president Janet Ward Black made a       also called upon the NC Bar            clinic was held in April 2008, and
call to arms to the legal community     Committees to think of their own       NCPLS has held the clinic on a
to give back, and dedicated her         service project to compliment the      quarterly basis ever since.
year as president to encouraging        Bar's efforts.
service among the Bar members.                                                       (continued on page 11)
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                          Page 11

     (continued from page 10)                                                downtown Raleigh for all Raleigh
    In the twelve (12) clinics held,                                         clinics.
we have serviced 72 customers
with the help of 80 volunteer                                                    We are extremely lucky and
attorneys, law students and                                                  appreciative of our clinic partners,
paralegals.                                                                  who without them we would not be
                                                                             able to continue hosting the clinic
    The clinic is hosted between                                             and serving the community.
Durham and Raleigh on a rotating
basis. In Durham, the clinic is Co-                                              Our next session will be held in
Sponsored by the Durham Prisoner          In 2009, NCPLS partnered           Raleigh on January 22, 2011 from
Resource Roundtable and is held at     with Campbell University Law          10 a.m. to Noon. If you have
the Durham Public Library -            School and is now utilizing           questions, please feel free to write
Stanford L. Warren Branch.             Campbell's brand new building in      to April Giancola at NCPLS.

                               Survey for Women Inmates
                      Professor Carrie Basas, University of North Carolina School of Law

    Professor Carrie Basas at the      receiving a copy of the survey,       any letters that are received outside
University of North Carolina           please    send  your    mailing       of the survey questions can’t be
School of Law is conducting a          information to:                       incorporated into the final data
survey of women inmates in North                                             because       of       confidentiality
Carolina. She would like to know       Professor Carrie Basas                concerns. Thanks so much for
more about your experiences            ATTN: Prison Survey Project           considering this opportunity and
before being in prison, as well as     UNC School of Law                     for sharing it with other women
what your life in prison has been      160 Ridge Rd., CB 3380,               inmates in North Carolina who
like. The survey has questions that    Chapel Hill, NC 27599.                might be interested.        Research
touch on those subjects and will                                             from the survey will be used to not
help her get a better picture of           She will send you a copy of the   only understand the women’s
what some of your shared concerns      survey. The best way to have your     population better, but to also make
might be. The survey is multiple-      voice heard about the issues raised   some recommendations about how
choice and quick to complete. It is    in the survey is to answer the        to improve services for this
confidential and anonymous. If         questions in it to the extent you     community.
you are a woman interested in          feel comfortable. Unfortunately,

                     What is the North Carolina Innocence
                             Inquiry Commission?
                                  Sarah Jessica Farber, NCPLS Staff Attorney

    After Gregory Taylor was           Commission is a state agency. It      and the Chief Judge of the Court of
exonerated by the Innocence            was created by an act of the          Appeals. The statutes dictate that
Inquiry Commission, NCPLS              legislature in August of 2006. The    the members of the Commission
received many letters asking about     Commission has eight members,         include a Superior Court judge, a
the Commission.        The North       appointed by the Chief Justice of     prosecuting attorney, a defense
Carolina    Innocence      Inquiry     the North Carolina Supreme Court            (continued on page 12)
Page 12                                                                        Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

     (continued from page 11)           only examines new evidence that
attorney, a victim advocate, a          was not considered at trial. If the        In deciding whether to apply
member of the public, a sheriff,        Commission grants you a formal         for a claim of innocence, NCPLS
and two discretionary members.          inquiry, you would then have a         urges you to strongly consider the
                                        right to counsel. However, in          Commission’s promise that it will
   North Carolina Prisoner              order to take advantage of the         turn over evidence of any other
Legal Services, Inc. is not part of     inquiry, you must waive all            crime, such as a more serious
or affiliated with the North            privileges, including attorney-        offense. On the other hand, if the
Carolina Innocence Inquiry              client confidentiality, spousal        Inquiry finds evidence in your
Commission                              immunity, and the right against        favor, that evidence will be turned
                                        self-incrimination. You might face     over to you and you may be able to
     NCPLS is an independent, non-      criminal prosecution if the            use it in drafting a Motion for
profit law firm whose core mission      Commission’s           investigation   Appropriate Relief (MAR).
is to protect inmates’ constitutional   reveals criminal acts for which the
rights by challenging illegal           you have not been charged. There           Finally, please keep in mind
convictions and sentences and by        are three reasons the Commission       that NCPLS is interested in helping
ensuring      safe   and     humane     requires the waiver: (1) the idea      inmates who are actually innocent.
conditions       of    confinement.     that an innocent person has nothing    NCPLS does not require a waiver
NCPLS’s mission is much broader         to hide; (2) that the Commission       and will not turn over evidence of
than the Commission’s mission.          needs full cooperation from both       any other crimes to a law
                                               (continued on page 11)          enforcement agency.         NCPLS
    If you write to the Commission            (continued from page 10)         welcomes letters from inmates
and return their questionnaire, they    the claimant and the State in order    who are actually innocent and
will begin working on your case.        to fully investigate the claim; and    would like NCPLS to review their
The Commission is only interested       (3) that the requirement will deter    cases.
in cases of actual innocence and        false claims of innocence.

                 Report on New Legislation in North Carolina
                                        Allison Standard, NCPLS Staff Attorney

     NCPLS receives many letters               convicted of "non-violent"      following is a brief summary25 of
from inmates who ask about new                 offenses.                       some laws passed during this
legislation and how it might affect           There have been changes in      session. For a more complete
their sentences. There are many                the     laws    concerning      report, please write to NCPLS and
rumors that frequently circulate in            habitual felon sentencing       request a legislative update.
the prison system concerning                   which will lead to sentence
changes in the laws. Some of the               reductions.
more frequent ones that we hear
are:                                      Please be aware that none of
                                             these rumors are true.
      North Carolina is going
       back to the "65% law"                However, there was some
       and/or will be reinstating       legislation passed during the
       felony parole.                   General     Assembly’s      session
      A law has been passed            adjourning on July 10, 2010 that
       which will reduce the            may be of interest to inmates. The     25
                                                                                  Legislative summary adapted from
       prison terms of inmates                                                 materials from the UNC School of
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                            Page 13

     (continued from page 12)           December 1, 2006. The new law          sample be obtained at the time of
                                        amends the effective‐date language     arrest, and it amends the pretrial
            DWI parole                  to make the change applicable to       release statutes (G.S. 15A‐534(a))
    Inmates      imprisoned     for     offenses committed and to              to provide that if a defendant is
impaired driving can, in certain        individuals who move into North        required to provide fingerprints or
circumstances, be paroled. In 1997      Carolina ―prior to,‖ as well as on     a DNA sample and has refused to
(S.L. 1997‐379) the General             or after, December 1, 2006.            do so, the pretrial release must
Assembly amended G.S. 20‐179(p)                                                include a condition requiring that
to provide that an inmate could not         However, this amendment to         the person arrested provide the
be paroled until he or she              the effective date of the 2006         sample or prints.
completed any recommended               legislation has an effective date of
treatment or training program,          its own: it is ―effective October 1,
unless he or she was paroled into a     2010, and applies to any person
residential treatment program (that     required to register as a sex
is, DART Cherry). The provision         offender under Article 27A of
allowing an inmate to be paroled to     Chapter 14 of the General Statutes,
a residential treatment program         any person serving an active
was stricken from the law in 2007       sentence     or     on    supervised
(S.L. 2007‐493). This year, it was      probation, parole, or post‐release
added back to the law by S.L.           supervision, for any offense, on or
                                        after that date, and any person            Until June 1, 2012, the person
2010‐97 (S 1242) in precisely the
                                        convicted of a felony offense on or    arrested     must      petition    the
same form that it first appeared in
                                        after that date.‖ Under that           prosecutor to request expunction if
1997, effective July 20, 2010.
                                        language, the change only applies      no charges are filed or three years
                                        to offenders who (1) are already       pass with no action in the case.
     Sex offender registration
                                        registered in North Carolina for       After June 1, 2012, the prosecutor
    Provisions near the end of S.L.
                                        another crime; (2) are still in        is    responsible      for     seeking
2010‐174 (H 726), which is
                                        contact with the North Carolina        expunction without a request from
primarily devoted to making
                                        criminal justice system by virtue of   the person arrested. If there is a
technical and conforming changes
                                        being incarcerated or under            dismissal, acquittal, or conviction
to the expunction legislation
                                        community supervision; or (3)          of a lesser‐included offense, the
passed in 2009, broaden the
                                        come back into contact with the        prosecutor must initiate steps to
effective‐date coverage of North
                                        criminal justice system by virtue of   expunge the sample. The court is
Carolina’s registration requirement
                                        a subsequent felony offense.           not involved except to sign
for offenders with reportable
                                                                               verification forms if the person is
convictions        from         other
                                          DNA samples at time of arrest        acquitted or the charge is
jurisdictions. Section 16(a) of the
                                            North Carolina passed S.L.         dismissed. The person arrested
law modifies the effective date in
                                        2010‐94 (H 1403). That law             may file a motion to compel the
Section 19 of S.L. 2006‐247 (H                                                 prosecutor to act or to contest a
1896), which amended G.S.               amends the DNA collection
                                        statutes to provide that on arrest     prosecutor’s decision not to act.
14‐208.6(4)b to provide that a                                                 Any       identification,     warrant,
―reportable conviction‖ includes ―a     for    certain    offenses—mostly
                                        felonies,         but         some     probable cause to arrest, or arrest
final conviction in another state of                                           based on a DNA match that occurs
an offense that requires registration   misdemeanors—a defendant must
                                        provide a DNA sample. The              after the statutory period for
under the sex offender registration                                            expunction       is    invalid     and
statutes of that state.‖ The 2006       sample is to be a cheek swab
                                        unless a court order authorizes that   inadmissible in the prosecution of
legislation made this change                                                   the person for any criminal
applicable to offenses committed        a DNA blood sample be obtained.
                                        The law adds a new G.S.                offense.
and to individuals who move into                                                      (continued on page 14)
North Carolina on or after              15A‐502A to require that the
Page 14                                                                           Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010

     (continued from page 13)            essential or nonessential element;       firearm rights in North Carolina
    The offenses covered by the          (3) was an offense for which the         considerably longer for people
new arrest sampling provisions are       offender was armed with or used a        with convictions from other
murder, homicide, rape and sex           firearm or other deadly weapon; or       jurisdictions. New G.S. 14‐415.4
offenses, specified assaults (G.S.       (4) requires registration as a sex       establishes other criteria a person
14‐32,     14‐32.4(a),       14‐34.2,    offender. For the purposes of the        must satisfy to obtain restoration of
14‐34.5, 14‐34.6, and 14‐34.7),          new law, multiple nonviolent             firearm rights, such as a one‐year
kidnappings or human trafficking         felony convictions arising out of        period of residency in North
offenses, burglary offenses, arson,      the same event and consolidated          Carolina.
armed robbery, sex offenses              for sentencing count as one felony.
requiring                registration,   A person is ineligible for                    The effective date for the new
cyberstalking, and stalking, as well     restoration for various reasons          firearm right restoration procedure
as attempts, solicitations, or aiding    listed in the statute, including         is not entirely clear. The law states
and abetting any of the covered          having been adjudicated guilty of        that it is effective February 1,
offenses.                                or having received a prayer for          2011, and applicable to offenses
                                         judgment continued or a suspended        committed on or after that date. A
The law is effective February 1,         sentence for one or more                 literal reading of that provision
2011.                                    misdemeanor crimes of violence or        might suggest that only felons who
                                         other listed misdemeanors.               committed their offenses on or
        Felon firearm rights                                                      after that date could eventually
    With several recent federal and                                               (that is, after serving their
state cases as a backdrop, the                                                    sentence, having their rights
legislature decided to weigh in on                                                restored, and allowing 20 years to
which felons it thought should be                                                 pass) petition to have their firearms
entitled to possess firearms. S.L.                                                rights restored. A more likely
2010‐108 (H 1260) amends various                                                  interpretation of the legislature’s
statutes, described below, to allow                                               intent is that the ―offenses
people convicted of certain                   To obtain restoration, the          committed‖ language was meant to
felonies to petition for restoration     person must have had his or her          apply only to violations of the new
of the right to possess firearms and     civil rights restored (which, in         Class 1 misdemeanor created by
to create an exception from              North Carolina, typically occurs         the law, and that the petition
firearms restrictions for certain                                                 procedure generally takes effect
                                         automatically under G.S. 13‐1
white collar criminal convictions.                                                February 1, 2011, and applies to
                                         following a person’s completion of
The new statute gives the                                                         eligible persons regardless of the
                                         all incidents of his or her sentence)
responsibility      for       hearing                                             date they committed their felony.
                                         for at least 20 years. The new
restoration petitions to the district    statute also states that a person
court in the district where the                                                                   Fees
                                         who was convicted of a nonviolent
person resides.                                                                       To cope with a tight (and
                                         felony in another jurisdiction is
                                                                                  tightening) budget, the General
                                         eligible for restoration if his or her
    The initial prerequisite for                                                  Assembly increased a number of
                                         civil rights, including the right to
restoration is that the person must      possess a firearm, have been             court‐ and corrections‐related costs
have no more than one conviction         restored for at least 20 years in the    and fees. S.L. 2010‐31 increases
for a ―nonviolent felony,‖ which is      other jurisdiction. The provision        the supervision fee for probation
defined as not including any Class       apparently requiring that the            (G.S. 15A‐1343(c1)), post‐release
A, B1, or B2 felony or any Class C       person’s firearm rights already          supervision (G.S. 15A‐1368.4(f),
through I felony that (1) includes       have been restored for 20 years in       and parole (G.S. 15A‐1374(c))
an assault as an essential element;      the other state may make the             from $30 to $40 per month,
(2) includes possession or use of a      waiting period for restoration of        effective October 1, 2010, but also
firearm or deadly weapon as an                                                    applicable to supervisees placed on
Volume X, Issue 1, November 2010                                                                                                                                  Page 15

supervision prior to that date. The                        far more for some outside medical                           correctional facility where an
same law increases the community                           services than would be allowed                              inmate      requiring     care     is
service supervision fee under G.S.                         under the State Health Plan or                              incarcerated; and (4) consulting
143B‐262.4 from $225 to $250.                              Medicaid. Under S.L. 2010‐31,                               with the Department of Health and
Under a technical correction in                            DOC may, as of July 1, 2010,                                Human Services about seeking
S.L. 2010‐123 (S 1202), that                               reimburse providers of inmate                               Medicaid waivers for inmates
change is effective October 1,                             medical services at a rate not to                           whose Medicaid eligibility has
2010, and applicable only to                               exceed 70 percent of usual and                              been suspended on account of their
persons ordered to perform                                 customary charges in effect for all                         incarceration. The law requires
community service on or after that                         other patients. The limitation does                         DOC to study the impact to inmate
date. G.S. 143B‐262.4 was further                          not apply to reimbursement rates                            medical costs resulting from these
amended by S.L. 2010‐96 (S 1165)                           set in contracts already in effect                          cost‐control measures and report
(effective July 20, 2010) to provide                       before that date.                                           its findings to the legislature by
that offenders participating in the                                                                                    March 1, 2011. The law also
community service program as a                                                                                         encourages the Department to
condition of parole will pay their                                                                                     explore other options, such as
fees to the clerk in the county of                                                                                     contracting with a private third part
conviction, not the county into                                                                                        to manage inmate medical
which they were released on parole                                                                                     services, treating inmates at federal
(as required under a change made                                                                                       correctional      hospitals,     and
to the law in 2009).                                                                                                   purchasing a fixed number of beds
                                                                                                                       at a hospital. DOC must also report
   Inmate medical cost control                                                                                         by October 1, 2010, on the
    As the prison population                                   The same law also directs DOC                           anticipated effects on inmate
grows—and, in response to                                  to make every effort to control                             medical care as a result of the new
determinate sentences without the                          costs by: (1) using its own health                          hospital at Central Prison and the
possibility of parole, grows                               care facilities to provide inmate                           updated facilities at the North
older—medical costs are becoming                           medical services when possible;                             Carolina Correctional Institute for
an increasing percentage of the                            (2) limiting admissions to outside                          Women.
state corrections budget. A 2010                           hospitals; (3) giving preference to
report from the Office of the State                        hospitals in the same county (or an
Auditor indicated that DOC pays                            adjoining      county)    as    the

                                          Reminder about the PRLA and the Grievance System
  The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (―PRLA‖) has made it significantly harder for inmates to successfully bring suit in federal court in many ways. This
reminder only briefly touches upon the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement. The PRLA states that ―[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative
remedies as are available are exhausted.‖ 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). This means if you do not utilize and complete the facilities inmate grievance process, usually a form
DC-410A, your lawsuit can get dismissed from court. Even if you are suing for remedies not available under the facility’s grievance system, like monetary damages,
you must exhaust the inmate grievance system.
 You must be able to show the court that you did absolutely everything you could to comply with the inmate grievance system.
  Ways you do this include:
   1. Keep your grievances simple and to the point. A grievance can be dismissed on the grounds that it raises complaints about more than one incident. Therefore, you
should try to clearly, legibly, and simply set forth the facts relating to your specific complaint. In addition, a grievance may be dismissed if you use profane,
threatening, or abusive language. A simple statement of the facts as you observed them is the best approach to airing your concern.
  2. Remember that you cannot file a grievance if you have a previous grievance that has not completed Step Two of the appeal process.
  3. If you file a grievance and do not receive a response, try to appeal it. You can always claim that a non-response is the same as a denial of the grievance.
  4. If you receive a denial or a response that does not properly address your concern, appeal it.
  It is important to remember that even when grievance responses are not decided in your favor, they often contain information that helps NCPLS understand the
Department of Correction’s position, which better enables our attorneys to evaluate your request for assistance.