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Keeping Ex-Offenders Out of Prison

By Laurin Penland

Wilmington, NC – Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says repeat offenders are causing a spike in property crimes. He says something needs to be done at the state level to increase penalties for repeat offenders. Meanwhile, a local program helps former prisoners integrate into society.

Evangelous says there are roughly five thousand people on probation and parole living in Wilmington and he's finding that a few of them are behind the growing number of breaking and entering crimes.

Frankie Roberts runs LINC, a non-profit helping ex-offenders once they're released from prison. He says LINC tries to help them get jobs and a place to stay, but he says he can only work with 10 at a time -- a drop in the bucket.

"I guess we're averaging about 260-270 a month coming back to New Hanover County. It's a great demand. It's just a lot of people coming out of prison."

Of the 40,000 people in North Carolina's prisons, Roberts says, without help, 60 percent of them will end-up back behind bars.

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