North Carolina’s Incarceration Problem Is Serious – Here’s How to Solve It

In North Carolina, at least 66,000 people are behind bars. The incarceration rate in the state is, therefore, only slightly lower than the national average. However, it is much higher and faster than other NATO countries. These include the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and the Netherlands.

The United States is notorious for being one of the world’s highest jailers. In the Tar Heel State, though, not all of the prisoners are in jail because of a conviction. Most of them don’t have enough money to take care of bail.

The Effects of Bail on Incarceration

According to ACLU in North Carolina, about 86% of the people behind bars have not been convicted of a crime yet. They remain there because they didn’t have enough funds to cover the bail.

Criminal Law in North Carolina

A bail is an amount set by the court for the temporary release of a suspect. Based on culture and the law, it is a privilege, not a right. In other words, a person may end up in a jail or prison during a trial because the offense is non-bailable. It’s also possible for a judge to grant it in what is usually a non-bailable crime.

Bail provides many benefits for both the suspect and their team. For one, it allows the defense to gather evidence or create arguments with more freedom. They are no longer limited to visitation hours. In addition, it adheres to the basic legal principle, which is a person remains innocent until proven guilty.

For many incarcerated individuals in North Carolina, though, bail is a significant amount. It can range between $10,000 and millions of dollars.

The Solutions to Ending Mass Incarceration

For a short-term solution, the best option for the suspect and the families is to work with a reliable bail bond agent in Raleigh, NC. In a bail system, the money remains with the court, which then returns the money when the defendant attends all the scheduled trials. In other words, for people like bail bond agents, there’s no loss of money.

As a business, they charge a fee, which can be 15% of the total amount. If the bail costs thousands, it’s a lot of money. Families or the defendant can cover the cost with a flexible financing option. In the long-term, organizations and experts suggest both justice and bail reforms. For example, ACLU advocates the abolition of paying bail.

North Carolina also passed the historic Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act. The state used to be the only one to try 16- to 17-year-olds automatically as adults even if their offenses were misdemeanors. The act changed that by increasing the age to 18.

This provision will take effect only in 2019, but many believe it will have a positive economic and psychological impact. For one, it can significantly reduce the problem of overcrowding in prisons.

It can also decrease spending. According to the state’s Department of Public Safety (NCDPS), the average annual corrections cost per inmate as of June 30, 2018, was over $36,000.

There’s no doubt some people need to stay behind bars even during the trial. This decision, though, is best for those who are among the high-risk groups. These are individuals who are likely to leave the state or present significant danger to society. Many, therefore, deserve to be out because that’s what’s fair.