In the three years since North Carolina adopted a series of reforms to its criminal justice system, the state's prison population has dropped by 8 percent and its crime rate has fallen 11 percent, according to a recent report by the non-profit Council of State Governments.
Since launching “justice reinvestment” reforms in 2011, the state has closed 10 correctional facilities. Those closures are expected to save the state $560 million by 2017, according to the report.
The state has reinvested savings in a variety of prisoner re-entry initiatives, including adding 175 probation and parole officers.
Prior to the reforms, an average of 15,000 people each year “left prison without any supervision as they transitioned back into the community, despite having significantly higher rearrest rates than individuals who received supervision after release,” researchers write.
Supervision is now required for between nine and 12 months after release for all former prisoners with felony convictions.
“To modify certain supervision conditions, officers used to be required to request a hearing with the court, but now they can immediately place probationers in cognitive behavioral programming, a substance use treatment program, or under electronic monitoring,” researchers write.
The changes have led to a 50 percent drop in probation revocations since 2011.
Read the full report HERE.