From The N.C. Supreme Court ruled in the controversial case involving men and women who were given life sentences between 1974 and 1978, that they would not be given credit for good time, denying them, in the words of the dissenting justices, “fundamental fairness.”
The N.C. Supreme Court ruled in the controversial case involving men and women who were given life sentences between 1974 and 1978, that they would not be given credit for good time, denying them, in the words of the dissenting justices, “fundamental fairness.”
By Arthur Mondale
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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The debate over reducing life sentences has hit another road block. The NC Supreme Court ruled against Alford Jones and Faye Brown.
Both are among dozens of inmates sentenced under a 1974 law that defined a life sentence as 80 years. The high court said they did not qualify for good behavior that would have cut that sentence in half.
In a statement released on Friday, the Gov. Perdue said: “I stood up for what I believed was right for North Carolina, and I thank the victims, their families, and law enforcement who stood up with me.”
Last November, the governor told our cameras, “Somebody interpreted the law the way the law wasn’t supposed to be interpreted…I think we’ll keep the prisoners in jail I hope.”
Even then, the Department of Corrections called the proceedings a complicated situation. But reducing good conduct credits would ultimately be for the courts to decide. But not everyone believes the decision is 100% right for North Carolina.
“Fundamentally it comes down to—is it retribution or is it rehabilitation? And I think that’s the core of the debate,” said Anita Earls, exec. Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Earls joins others who argue the NC Supreme Court ruling gives the Department of Corrections too much power to award and take away good conduct credits as they see fit, “If they have the authority to do that, then there’s no logic that says they can only do that in cases where there’s a life sentence.”
But opponents also argue there is a fundamental resource issue, the cost of housing prisoners for life.
State officials had originally said more than two dozen violent criminals could have qualified for early release after serving only half their sentence if good conduct credits were applied.
Source: WNCT Eyewitness News 9