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Michael F. Easley

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Theodis Beck

North Carolina Department of Correction

For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Keith Acree
Date: July 15, 2002 Phone: (919) 716-3727

Childhood curiosity becomes life's work 

Carla BassKINSTON – Since she was five years old, Carla Bass has known what she wanted to do – work with criminal offenders. As a young girl, she would watch inmates on the road squads that cleaned the ditch by the road in her front yard. "I had this fascinating interest in who these men were and what they were doing," she said. "It terrified my mother."

She was also full of questions when her family drove by the county prison camp near their home. "I was intrigued by the people behind the fence and would ask my parents all kinds of questions about them," she said.

More than 30 years later, Bass has turned that childhood curiosity into her career. Today, as a judicial district manager in the Division of Community Corrections, she oversees 34 employees who help supervise almost 1,400 criminal offenders on probation or parole in Greene and Lenoir counties.

She began her work in community corrections with a social work degree from East Carolina University and an internship in the probation office in her home county. Her first job was as a field service counselor in eastern North Carolina, a forerunner to today’s modern probation/parole officer. Later she supervised a residential program for offenders convicted of drunk driving.

"You never get bored in this job," she said. "It’s always challenging." Bass feels some people enter the field without a good understanding of what it’s all about. "It’s black and white – either you’re cut out for this job or you’re not," she said. "There are no gray areas."

Probation/parole officers work in every county in North Carolina, helping to protect the public safety by supervising offenders sentenced to probation and offenders released from prison on parole or post-release supervision.

"I tell all my new officers that this is an awesome responsibility," she said. "You need to realize how much your actions affect people’s lives."

Governor Michael Easley has proclaimed July 14-20, 2002 Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Officers’ Week in recognition of more than 2,000 community corrections officers who supervise more than 116,000 criminal offenders in North Carolina communities.

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