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North Carolina

From 2000 to 2008, North Carolina’s prison population increased 25 percent from 31,581 to 39,326 inmates.i During that same period, the state corrections budget increased 43 percent, from $918 million to more than $1.31 billion.ii If existing policies remain unchanged, the Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission projects that the prison population will increase by 25 percent, or 10,000 inmates, between 2009 and 2019.iii

The existing prison capacity is about 39,000 beds and the state estimates that it will face a shortfall of about 8,500 beds by FY 2019.iv Building and operating these new prison beds will cost more than $2 billion between FY 2012 and FY 2019.v Construction costs alone will approach $775 million between FY 2012 and FY 2019, with one third of this spending needed by FY 2012.vi

In 2009, Governor Beverly Perdue, Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker, Senate President Marc Basnight, Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Joe Hackney, and House Minority Leader Paul Stam requested technical assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center to help develop a statewide policy framework to reduce spending on corrections and reallocate funds to strategies that would produce a greater public safety return for each dollar spent. It is anticipated that the framework will be completed in time for policymakers to during the 2011 legislative session.

The John Locke Foundation, the state’s think tank that supports approaches that limit government and promote free markets, has recommended in its “Agenda 2010” that lawmakers “maintain North Carolina’s commitment to fighting crime while reserving prison for violent and repeat offenders” and “divert mentally ill individuals into community-based care rather than jails, starting with crisis intervention teams and other pre-booking interventions.”vii


i North Carolina Profile, Council of State Governments Justice Center, Justice Reinvestment, http://justicereinvestment.org/states/north_carolina.
ii Ibid.
iii Ibid.
iv Ibid.
v Ibid.
vi Ibid.
vii Agenda 2010 – Crime & Punishment, The John Locke Foundation, http://www.johnlocke.org/agenda2010/crimeandpunishment.html.

Barriers to Re-entry Hurt Society as a Whole

Julie Warren | July 25, 2017
The United States Supreme Court recently entered an opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina. 2017. _ U.S. _ (June). In a roundabout way, it touched on the merits of…

North Carolina’s “Flip the Prison” Initiative: Converting Old Prisons Into Community Centers For Troubled Youth, Returning Veterans

Michael Haugen | June 8, 2015
Since 2007, many states across the country–particularly in the south–have been responding to impending crises in their criminal justice systems with systemic reforms aimed at reducing recidivism, easing overpopulation,…

North Carolina’s “Raise the Age” bill

Right on Crime | May 30, 2014
The bipartisan bill to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction passed the N.C. House and will now move on to the Senate. The legislation aims to raise the age…

Marc Levin on “Capital Tonight”

Right on Crime | May 29, 2014
ROC Policy Director Marc Levin appeared on “Capital Tonight” to talk about North Carolina’s Raise the Age bill.

N.C. Committee Unanimously Passes Juvenile Jurisdiction Legislation

Right on Crime | June 20, 2012
A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee in the North Carolina Legislature unanimously approved legislation that would place juveniles charged with a misdemeanor in the juvenile justice system. Under…

Ohio and North Carolina Move Forward with Justice Reinvestment Bills

Right on Crime | July 25, 2011
Politicians from both ends of the political spectrum in North Carolina and Ohio recently enacted comprehensive legislation in their states resulting from justice reinvestment initiatives, according to the Justice…

Reforms Being Considered In North Carolina

Right on Crime | June 21, 2011
There is interesting news out of North Carolina, where important prison and probation reforms are headed to the Governor’s office. The Blue Ridge Times-News has the story... Read more

North Carolina Criminal Justice in a Nutshell

Right on Crime | October 31, 2010
The John Locke Foundation's Agenda 2010: Crime and Punishment does an exceptional job of reducing the complicated criminal justice problems in North Carolina to a few easy-to-understand bullet-points. It…
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