What We Do
Empower and engage communities to solve North Carolina’s criminal justice problems.
A more equitable and humane criminal justice system in North Carolina.
Support justice-involved people and their families.
Over 300,000 people come into contact with North Carolina’s criminal justice system every year, and are over 10 times more likely to be a person of color than a white person. The collateral consequences of even one conviction are devastating. If a parent is incarcerated for any reason, their children are deeply traumatized by the separation. While incarcerated, people are routinely physically, mentally, and sexually abused, leaving scars of trauma that remain with them the rest of their lives. After release, even a nonviolent conviction can cause someone to fail a routine background check, making it immeasurably harder for them to find a job, somewhere to live, or return to school to improve their lives. The Carolina Justice Policy Center stands with this underserved and marginalized population, and actively respond to their most pressing needs.
Educate and engage the public about criminal justice issues.
North Carolina’s racially-biased narrative has kept millions of citizens unaware of the dangerous reality of today’s criminal justice system for people of color. A person’s experience with North Carolina’s criminal justice system will differ dramatically, depending on their race and socioeconomic status. What is commonplace for poorer communities and communities of color – harassment, racism, violence, and over-incarceration – can be practically unheard of in white and other privileged groups.
However, the issues of mass incarceration, institutionalized racism, and police shootings are steadily gaining greater prominence in public discourse. As a result, more and more people are showing a willingness to fully understand and engage with these issues on a deeper level. We see this moment as a particularly opportune time to engage with and educate citizens of all ages and backgrounds to shed light on problems, as well as the solutions, to North Carolina’s criminal justice problems. Our goal is to confront North Carolina’s racially-biased narrative with the truth about what has and continues to happen to people of color in today’s justice system.
Train and mobilize effective advocates.
The current political climate and growing awareness of justice-related issues has created an exciting time for activism. As we educate and engage greater numbers of people, we seek funding to move them from passive observer to vocal advocate. Our goal is to discover and share ways these advocates can create real and lasting change in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.
We believe that lasting changes can be first realized at the local level, with the election of reform-ready district attorneys, sheriffs, judges, and other officials. Our goal is to build and mobilize a statewide, grassroots network of supporters ready to act when opportunities for criminal justice reform arise.