Significant changes to North Carolina’s sentencing and probation laws designed to keep better track of offenders and discourage recidivism while scaling back prison construction are heading to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s desk, the Associated Press reports. The legislature last week approved the “Justice Reinvestment Act,” developed with the help of outside researchers and interest groups.
The measure would allow the state to place short-term punishments on probationers to help them avoid serious violations. More released felons would be supervised, and repeat breaking-and-entering offenders could face tougher punishments. More misdemeanor violators would serve jail time. More first-time drug offenders could avoid prosecution. Supporters said the changes could reduce the need for 3,000 prison beds.