Three years after North Carolina enacted justice reinvestment legislation, this report reviews the policies the state enacted and their impact on North Carolina’s correctional and criminal justice system. Through transforming the state’s probation system, reinventing how treatment is delivered, and expanding supervision, the state has seen declines in its prison population, the number of probation revocations, and releases from prison without supervision.
In 2010, North Carolina’s prison population was projected to grow by 10 percent in the next decade. Probation revocations accounted for more than half of prison admissions, and only about 15 percent of people released from prison received supervision. From 2010 to 2011, the CSG Justice Center worked with North Carolina state leaders to develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center experts interviewed stakeholders across the criminal justice system and conducted a comprehensive analysis of North Carolina’s criminal justice data. The Justice Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 2011. Among other things, the law:
- Requires mandatory supervision of individuals convicted of felonies leaving prison;
- Empowers probation officers to use swift and certain jail sanctions for violations of conditions of supervision;
- Increases sentences for repeat offenders of breaking and entering; and
- Diverts nonviolent, first-time felony drug offenders from prison using second chance incentives, saving both prison bed space and tax dollars.
These policies are projected to save the state up to an estimated $560 million over 6 years in reduced spending and averted costs. The legislature reprioritized more than $8 million in treatment funding in its FY2012 budget to better target existing community-based treatment resources. The CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to North Carolina on the implementation of these policies.