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The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a $1.75 million grant to the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice to enhance transitional services for inmates as they prepare to leave prison.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance award came through a competitive grant titled Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Maximizing State Reforms. This award will help North Carolina continue implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2011 by further integrating evidence based practices into programming in state prisons – particularly through the preparation of inmates for release and successful reentry to the community.

With this funding the state prison system will redesign its minimum custody levels to ensure inmates receive specific pre-release planning and preparation based on assessed risk and needs. A risk-needs-responsivity tool created by George Mason University will help determine programming needs and appropriate prison facility placement for high risk felons preparing for release. The grant funding will also be used to strengthen the evidence-based programming options for incarcerated felons and increase the number of local reentry councils established in the state.

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The N.C. Department of Transportation has begun distributing more than $147.7 million in State Street Aid, also known as the Powell Bill fund, to 507 municipalities across the state. The initial allocation, half of the overall total, was sent out on Wednesday. The rest will be paid by Jan. 1, 2016.

This year’s total is about the same as last year, increased by about $400,000. And the number of municipalities who applied for the funds is the same as last year. The money can only be used for the construction, widening, maintaining or repairing of any street, bikeway, greenway or sidewalk that is maintained by the municipality.

“This program assists local governments in improving transportation connectivity and safety for its residents and visitors by helping upgrade and repair their transportation systems,” says Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson.

Powell Bill funding is generated by revenue from the state gas tax and other highway user fees. The program has allocated nearly $4.1 billion to municipalities over its 65-year history.

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United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced today that local community agencies that assist crime victims will benefit from $60,012,054 that has been awarded to the State of North Carolina by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime (OVC).

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Governor’s Crime Commission will distribute these funds to domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and other local agencies to provide services to victims, such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, and criminal justice advocacy.

U.S. Attorney Walker said, “This program can make a tremendous difference for crime victims and their families, and it is especially satisfying to know that the support they receive is funded not by the taxpayers but by the offenders themselves.”

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Two home repair companies have been ordered to pay more than $700,000 in refunds and penalties after misleading dozens of consumers, said Attorney General Roy Cooper.

At the request of the state Consumer Protection Division, Wake County Superior Court Judge Henry W. Hight, Jr. ordered defendant Brian William Smith of Eagle Roofing and Restoration to pay $148,308.57 in restitution to consumers, and pay up to $366,709 in civil penalties and investigation costs. Judge Hight also ordered defendant James Stevens, Jr. of Jim’s Black Top Paving to pay $48,750 in restitution and up to $196,750 in civil penalties and investigation costs.

The default judgments also permanently bar each defendant from operating home repair businesses in North Carolina. Eagle Roofing and Restoration was also banned from assisting consumers with insurance claims.

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