North Carolina embraces a fair and equitable justice system, free from racism and bias, where safety is foundational to all aspects of a free society, and all communities are free from harm and violence.

Why Is This Important?

“People of color, notably African American men, are imprisoned at disproportionate rates and tend to face harsher punishment for similar crimes as their white counterparts. There are enormous health, social, and economic consequences of incarceration for both the imprisoned person, their families, and our communities.” 2022 NC SHIP, pg. 40.

Story Behind the Curve

According to SAMSHSA, an estimated 18% of the general population has a mental illness. However, an estimated 44% of those in jail and 37% of those in prison have a mental illness.

An estimated 11% of the 18–25-year-old population and 6% of those over 25 years old have a substance use disorder. The estimated prevalence of substance use disorder in jails is 63%, and 58% in prisons.

People with these disorders have challenges in getting appropriate treatment, and often incarceration exacerbates their symptoms. This can lead to individuals staying incarcerated longer than those without behavioral health concerns. Upon release from incarceration, people with behavioral health issues face many barriers to successful reentry into the community, such as lack of health care, job skills, education, stable housing, and poor connection with community behavioral health providers. These factors may jeopardize their recovery and increase their probability of relapse and re-arrest.  2022 NC SHIP, pg. 42

Durham County NC Criminal Justice Resource Center
Growing Change, Inc
Leading Into New Communities (LINC), Inc.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)-Trauma- Informed Courts
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI)
North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC)
North Carolina Judicial Branch- School Justice Partnership
North Carolina Justice Academy
North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC)
Wash Away Unemployment
What Works
  • Implement Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs in correctional settings
  • Implement standardized, evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism
  • Improve access to treatment for substance use disorders, physical illnesses, and mental illnesses
  • Improve conditions and programs in jails and prisons to reduce harmful impact and foster successful reintegration into community
  • Improve educational outcomes, particularly for boys of color
  • Increase employment opportunities and job training programs in disadvantaged communities
  • Reduce intergenerational and neighborhood poverty
  • Revise current criminal justice policies
Description of Indicator Data

US Bureau of Justice Statistics and NC Department of Public Safety

Additional Data Needed at Local Level
  • Racial equity training for court system personnel
  • Racial data in Administrative Office of the Courts reporting
  • Policies of law enforcement agencies regarding
    • use of force
    • duty to report excessive use of force
  • School-based offenses
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Screening and care in jail health
Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
% Change
Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy