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James Stamper fatally stabbed someone 12 times.
John Counts and John Gamble brutally murdered an 18-year-old Shallotte girl.
Ten other men and women committed unimaginable violent murders and rapes right here in Brunswick County.
They were all convicted.
They were all sentenced to prison.
And now, they are all free to live here, maybe right next door or down the street from you.
Thinking twice about checking your doors and windows at night? You can thank North Carolina’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program (MAPP) for your uneasiness.
Since January 2008, at least 13 violent Brunswick County criminals have had early release from prison.
It’s an injustice for every victim’s family (and their friends) who had to endure the horrific news someone they loved was slain.
It’s an injustice they had to sit through trials, speak to attorneys and hear details of crimes no one should ever bear witness to, and then to have prison sentences cut short.
Worst of all, it detracts from the memory of the innocent people who were killed.
While maybe they were given a voice during a trial or investigation, MAPP rips it away.
It makes us downright mad.
It should enrage all of you, too.
The North Carolina Department of Corrections, Division of Prisons and Parole Commission, grants these early-release parole options for criminals who were sentenced to prison before Oct. 1, 1994. Through MAPP, if the offender is within three years of parole and meets other requirements—such as being infraction-free for a mere 90 days—they’re eligible for early release.
Those who committed the same types of crimes after Oct. 1, 1994, don’t have the same luxury. Those victims’ family and friends don’t have to worry about someone showing back up in their communities earlier than they thought they would.
Why should a date on a calendar play a role in whether justice is fully served?
According to a March 1 report from the department of corrections, in 2010, 267 North Carolina inmates were enrolled in the MAPP program—of those 96 convicted criminals were released from prison early.
NCDOC says MAPP “has proven to be an effective management tool in preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society.”
We say, knowing there is a way out of prison on the horizon, anyone can behave until he or she gets a chance to step out from behind those bars.
The question is, how safe will our communities be once they’re back here?
Does this sit well with you? According to the 2011 MAPP report, the department of corrections has no intention to put an end to MAPP. As a matter of fact, its goal is to increase MAPP participation “without jeopardizing public safety.”
Are you OK with this? If not, put pressure on your local legislators. Urge them to make a commitment to getting MAPP erased from North Carolina. It may be too late for the victims’ families of those who have already been released, but push for someone in the General Assembly to become a voice for our communities. It’s time true justice is served for everyone, not just those who skirt by on a calendar date.
You can find contact information for your area legislators by going online to http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/GIS/Representation/Representation.html. Let them know you want to erase this blemish on North Carolina immediately.