April 20, 2024 11:54 am
Search
Close this search box.

Local News

Report: Minorities Make up NC Prison Population Majority

Credit: iStock

Shanteya Hudson

new study of incarceration trends shows people who are Black or Native American make up more than half of North Carolina’s prison population.

The Prison Policy Initiative research finds disparities in the criminal justice system haven’t changed in the last decade, despite debates about addressing mass incarceration.

Wanda Bertram, communications strategist for the group, said decisions at a local level often dictate what happens.

“It has a lot to do with how policing works, and how courts work, and also, in a big way, how social services work,” Bertram outlined. “What social services are and are not being provided to people in these lower-income neighborhoods where often, health care is harder to access, and schools are much worse.”

She noted the research showed members of minority populations also spend more time in prison due to disproportionate sentencing and bail amounts. Every year in North Carolina, at least 128,000 people are booked into local jails.

The report suggested North Carolina’s pretrial policies have driven prison population growth over the last 40 years. According to the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, about 65% of people in jail are awaiting trial, many because they can’t pay the bond required for their release.

Bertram argued the economic divide ensures lower-income people will continue to face disparities. The report offers potential solutions to counter the trends.

“Those things include getting people off of parole, supervision and probation supervision; strict supervision that’s going to make it more likely that they end up behind bars for just a minor slip-up,” Bertram explained. “It includes reforms to the war on drugs, which is still very active in many places.”

She added other important considerations are community involvement, improved health care and public education as methods to lessen imprisonment and counteract racial bias.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Solar leases help NC farm owners up revenues, keep homestead

In the serene fields of Pendleton, North Carolina, Ajulo Othow, founder of EnerWealth Solutions, draws inspiration from her post-Katrina economic development work to establish solar installations that not only respect the landscape but offer sustainable income to local landowners. Her projects prioritize minimal disruption while maximizing benefits, reflecting a thoughtful approach to renewable energy in rural settings, and enhancing both economic and environmental resilience.

North Carolina Tenants Union seeks to level playing field in state’s tight housing market

In response to challenges faced by North Carolina tenants, including unjust evictions, unaffordable rent hikes, and poor living conditions, the North Carolina Tenants Union (NCTU) was officially launched with the aim of empowering tenants through collective action for fairer housing policies and laws. With a statewide network of local tenant unions, NCTU focuses on crucial issues such as legal representation in eviction proceedings, strengthening housing codes, and facilitating collective bargaining for lease renegotiations.

Troubled waters: DEQ proposes adding 400+ miles of streams, rivers to impaired list

Despite Bogue Sound’s serene appearance along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, it faces significant environmental threats from bacteria due to aging wastewater infrastructure and other pollution sources, prompting a proposal to list over 1,500 acres of the sound on the federal impaired waterways list for the year. This situation underscores a broader concern across the state, with over 400 miles of streams and rivers proposed to be added to this list, reflecting the ongoing challenge of balancing development and environmental preservation.