Kelan Lyons

Kelan Lyons

Investigative Reporter Kelan Lyons writes about criminal and civil justice, including high-profile litigation, prison and jail conditions, housing, and the challenges people face when they leave prison.

Tens of thousands of North Carolinians on parole can now vote

By: - July 27, 2022

More than 55,000 North Carolina citizens with felony convictions who are on probation, parole or some other form of state supervision can now register to vote and will be able to cast a ballot in this year’s November elections. The end of felony disenfranchisement for these groups follows a three-year legal battle that culminated in […]

PW special report: Two recent state Supreme Court decisions could alter NC’s juvenile justice landscape

By: - July 22, 2022

After growing up behind bars, many who committed serious crimes when they were children now have a chance at parole  James Ryan Kelliher first tried to kill himself when he was 10 years old. A high school dropout who had been abused by his father, Kelliher spent all his time getting or staying high by the time he was 17, robbing people to support his addiction.

Monday numbers: Gun violence in North Carolina, and one county’s efforts to address the crisis 

By: - July 18, 2022

The shooting at the school convinced county leaders it was time to do something.  In August 2021, on his first day back in class after a suspension, a 15-year-old student at New Hanover High School shot one of his peers in the hand and leg.

Cooper vetoes latest version of controversial immigration proposal

By: - July 11, 2022

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the “ICE 2.0” bill Monday afternoon, a Republican-backed measure that would have required sheriffs’ offices across the state to hold people accused of certain serious crimes in jail for up to 48 hours after they would have been released so that they can be taken into custody by federal immigration officials. […]

Medicaid expansion would help people incarcerated in jails and prisons — the ‘black hole of the mental health system’

By: - July 7, 2022

Thousands of people currently cycling in and out of jails and prisons are among the roughly 600,000 who would get health coverage under Medicaid expansion, potentially transforming North Carolina’s justice system. Dorel Clayton became unmoored after his mother died of ovarian cancer, in 2001.

Budget would expand sheriffs’ ability to challenge jail investigations — and delay fixing alleged violations

By: - July 1, 2022

County sheriffs and jailers could challenge violations uncovered during jail inspections conducted by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, according to a provision in the proposed state budget. Bill opponents say the measure undermines the state’s ability to regulate county jails and to enforce safety standards by allowing local authorities to immediately appeal the results of investigations. That could delay remedies for the violations while the appeal wends through the court system.

NC House committee advances “2.0 version” of controversial ICE detainer bill

By: - June 29, 2022

Members of a House Judiciary committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would require sheriff’s offices across North Carolina to hold people accused of certain serious crimes in jail for up to 48 hours so that they can be taken into custody by federal immigration officials. The bill continues a debate that stretches back to at […]