Three and a half years ago North Carolina passed wide-ranging legislation designed to address the state's soaring prison population and budget, high recidivism rates and thin behavioral treatment programs for offenders.
According to a new report from a nonprofit group that helped lawmakers facilitate the law's creation, the "Justice Reinvestment Act" is exceeding expectations laid out in 2011, reported the Associated Press.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center told a General Assembly oversight committee on criminal justice matters that the state prison population has declined by 3,400 offenders within three years to under 38,000 inmates, or hundreds below projected levels expected under the law by mid-2017. Ten prisons also have closed, contrasting with a prison building spree in the early 2000s.
Overall, the state is on track to save or avoid $560 million in spending on prisons and other government services by mid-2017 because of the reforms, the report said.