by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
According to a sidebar in the latest edition of Reason Magazine, North Carolina is one of several states that has put measures in place to reduce the number of non-violent criminals in the prison population.
Over the past five years, North Carolina has seen a reduction in our violent crime rate (down 18.5%) along with a reduction in prison population (down .6%) This puts us at #7 in the nation and well below national averages. The US average prison population has gone down .3% and the overall violet crime rate has gone down 15.3%.
Reforms enacted under North Carolina’s Justice Reinvestment Act of 2011, are paying off with fewer repeat offenders and cost savings.
Studies tell us that public spending on public safety results in positive economic performance. One consideration for state decision makers during the 2016 short session is to spend more tax dollars on public safety, along with sentencing reforms and addressing over criminalization.
North Carolina’s public safety reforms are paying off but as with so many of the transformational changes in the last few years, there are great benefits and still good work to be done.