The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC), which was established in June of 2020 to find real solutions to eliminate racial disparities and inequities in the NC criminal justice system, published their end-of-year report for 2021. Their report details the many recommendations they made to Governor Cooper over the course of 2021. These include:
Supporting the passage for the Dignity of Women Who are Incarcerated Act, which restricts the shackling of pregnant women to protect their medical health and afford them dignity while incarcerated.
Supporting the passage of legislation that raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction from six to 10 in most cases and gives prosecutors the flexibility to charge 16- and 17-year-olds in juvenile courts instead of adult courts.
Improving law enforcement recruitment, training, and accountability practices through SB 300, including establishing a duty for officers to intervene and report when they witness another officer use excessive force and requiring law enforcement agencies to have early warning systems to correct officer actions when needed.
The report also detailed The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice’s priority areas for 2022, which they will advance by working with state agencies and local governments, and law enforcement agencies. These include:
Continuing to improve policing practices, including their recommendations around training and use of force.
Enhancing law enforcement accountability, including recommendations such as establishing a statewide sentinel event review process and comprehensive public use of force database, requiring body-worn cameras, releasing footage promptly during critical incidents, and further addressing the wandering officer problem.
Investing in community-based solutions to reduce violence.
Reducing reliance on fines and fees, and financial conditions in the pretrial period.
Improving data systems so that policymakers, researchers, and the public better understand the criminal justice system and its impacts.
Promoting ideas that reduce the number of school-based juvenile justice system referrals, including hiring more behavioral health professionals in schools, and better equipping all adults with the tools they need to work with children by training them on mental health, first aid, cultural competence/diversity/inclusion, and developmental disability.
Click here to read the full end-of-year report: TREC-Interim-Report.pdf (ncdoj.gov)
Researched by Crystal Poole, NC-CURE Intern