Justice reinvestment is working in North Carolina. There are fewer prisoners than there used to be. Prison population has dropped dramatically from a high of nearly 42,000 inmates in 2009 to a little more than 37,000 at the start of this year.
The prison population is declining because the state’s growth rate is slowing down – especially for males between 16 to 24, who are the most likely people to get arrested – and because crime trends are going down across the country.
But the main reason for the shrinking prisons is the state’s massive revision of its sentencing laws, which is meant to keep as many offenders out of prison as possible through closer supervision and treatment. One part of the Justice Reinvestment Act, approved by the legislature last session, shifts those who have committed misdemeanors from prisons into county jails. Another provision increases the amount of a sentence to be served in jail instead of prison.
The impact has already begun to be measured. State prison admissions have dropped 17 percent from fiscal year 2010-11 to 2011-12 – a decrease in nearly 5,000 admissions. More than two-thirds of that decline is attributed to the Justice Reinvestment Act, which took effect in January 2012, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
To read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/09/3015334/prison-closures-are-price-of-nc.html