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.

Durham hosting “ShotSpotter” community forums starting this weekend

By: - September 9, 2022

This weekend the City of Durham will host the first of at least four community forums on the use of ShotSpotter technology to reduce crime. ShotSpotter is a controversial tool used by police departments across the country to reduce gun violence. Sensors alert police when guns are fired, helping them respond faster. Microphones will be placed […]

Monday numbers: Stopping school shootings before they happen

By: - September 5, 2022

Behind state efforts to prevent targeted mass shootings After the massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger visited his alma mater, Carr Elementary, in Dallas, North Carolina. What had once seemed innocuous design choices looked to Cloning like security risks that could be exploited […]

Biden student loan forgiveness will be taxable income in North Carolina

By: - September 1, 2022

Student loans forgiven under a plan outlined by President Joe Biden last week will be subject to state taxes, the North Carolina Department of Revenue announced on Wednesday. Borrowers who make up to $125,000 annually — or $250,000, if they are married — could see up t0 $10,000 of their federal student debt forgiven under a […]

‘The End of Isolation Tour’ and the push to end solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons

By: - August 29, 2022

How three performances of a play relate to efforts to end solitary in North Carolina It’s the sound of jangling keys that reminds Craig Waleed of his time in solitary confinement. “That brings me back to being in there and hearing the keys jingle next to the cell door, thinking, ‘OK then, they’ll let me out. Today's the day I get out,’” Waleed said.

Two men serving life sentences lobby lawmakers to expand parole eligibility

By: - August 12, 2022

"People with no reason to change will not change.” Phillip Vance Smith II first met Craig Wissink in 2004, toward the beginning of the life sentences the men were serving for separate murders. Smith thought Wissink was a friendly guy, the type who was always trying to make those around him laugh. The pair lost touch for about 10 years, a gap in a friendship common among imprisoned men subjected to unanticipated transfers to other correctional facilities.

Disenfranchised no more, ‘Second Chance voters’ can register and cast ballots — for now

By: - July 29, 2022

Allowing those on probation and parole to vote marks the largest expansion of voting rights in North Carolina since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Daquan Peters didn’t waste any time registering to vote on Wednesday. He hadn’t been fast enough last year, during a 10-day window between court proceedings where people like him, those who were home after spending time imprisoned for a felony but still on probation or parole, were briefly re-enfranchised.

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.