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Office Location:

Criminal Justice Services 600 E. Fourth St. Charlotte, NC 28202

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Criminal Justice Services

Key Initiatives

Below are brief descriptions of the key initiatives that Criminal Justice Services is currently pursuing. Click a link in the table below to jump to the corresponding section.

​Key Initiatives

Justice ReinvestmentEnhance Operations of Pretrial Services
Data WarehouseExpand Re-Entry Services for Moderate and High Risk Offenders
Criminal Justice DashboardImplement research-driven strategies in juvenile justice
License Restoration
Pilot Program
Review the citizen warrant process and evaluate the Citizen’s Warrant Court

Justice Reinvestment
In April 2011, Mecklenburg County was selected by the Department of Justice and their Bureau of Justice Assistance to participate in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a strategic planning process which focuses on lowering crime, reducing criminal justice spending, and controlling jail population growth.

Local stakeholders, with the assistance of nationally recognized policy experts, will undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system using data. Information from the analysis will then be used to pinpoint strategies that yield significant cost-benefit savings and improved public safety. The identified savings from the data-driven process will be utilized to fund new strategies.

Data Warehouse

The date warehouse will retrieve information from the record management systems of the Arrest Processing Center, Mecklenburg County Jail, and the Mecklenburg County Courts to provide comprehensive data on the criminal justice system.

The data warehouse was made possible through a Governor's Crime Commission Grant and matching funds from the county. The project is being developed in collaboration with Mecklenburg County Information Services and a private software vendor.

 

Criminal Justice Dashboard

The dashboard is a web-based tool designed to provide citizens, in approximate real time, an interactive, high-level overview of criminal justice system activity. The dashboard graphically displays arrest processing, jail, courts, and Pretrial Services information from the data warehouse.

License Restoration Pilot Program

Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) is the second most frequent basis for incarceration in Mecklenburg County. In 2011, DWLR arrests cost taxpayers approximately $4.8 million for housing and adjudication; and in FY12, nearly 15,000 DWLR cases were recorded in Mecklenburg County, approximately 10% of all District Court case filings.

License revocation is more likely to be the result of an administrative sanction (e.g., failure to pay child support) than a driving violation (e.g., driving while impaired) and restoration of a suspended driver’s license is an expensive and complex process. In an attempt to reduce cost to taxpayers, CJS established the License Restoration Pilot Program. A collaborative project with the Public Defender’s Office and the Charlotte School of Law, the project will receive federal support funds for the first year of operation.

Expand Re-Entry Services for Moderate and High Risk Offenders

Mecklenburg County receives the second largest number of prison releases in the State (approximately 1,500 annually) and nearly half are medium to high risk for re-offense. These prison releases are heavily concentrated in certain neighborhoods in Mecklenburg County with nearly 70% of state releases confined to eight contiguous zip codes in Mecklenburg County. Historically, forty percent of offenders released from North Carolina prisons return to prison within three years for a new crime.

Comprehensive programming tailored to the specific needs of offenders decreases the likelihood of continued criminal behavior. A state grant, with a County match, funds two reentry services case managers in CJS, while the Vera Foundation funds a continuing education program at CPCC. Federal support funds will allow for the hiring of an additional reentry services case manager in FY15.

Enhance Operations of Pretrial Services

Pretrial Services provides valuable information to the courts for determining conditions of release for accused individuals and supervises defendants awaiting trial.

Mecklenburg County is one of four pilot sites in the nation selected by the Arnold Foundation to implement their new objective risk assessment tool. Risk-based decision making in bail decision heightens public safety compared to charge-based decision making and ensures system resources (e.g., jail) are used wisely. Properly identifying risk level helps ensure that high-risk individuals are detained pending trial and that low-risk individuals are not unnecessarily detained.

Implement research-driven strategies in juvenile justice

In FY14, CJS engaged the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) to facilitate a review of the juvenile court process and the utilization of Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) funds. The analysis revealed that youths are not properly assessed at early stages of court involvement and, subsequently, JCPC funded programs are underutilized. In addition, current JCPC funded programs are not targeting moderate risk youths and low risk youths are not diverted from system. The study yielded 15 recommendations for improvement. JCPC members received the UNCC study and agreed to adopt the recommendations as part of their funding strategy in FY16.

Review the citizen warrant process and evaluate the Citizen’s Warrant Court 

In 2013, the 26th Judicial District established the Citizen’s Warrant Court in response to the County’s involvement in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The specialty court seeks to resolve citizen warrant cases through mediation. A review of the Citizen’s Warrant Court by CJS in 2013 revealed mixed outcomes despite favorable feedback from judges and participants. Ninety percent of citizen initiated complaints were dismissed in FY12 with half of these dismissals occurring as a result of the prosecuting witness not appearing in court.

Citizen warrant cases continue to be an issue for the criminal justice system as these low level cases consume significant resources (e.g., law enforcement time, jail beds, and court dockets) and delay the processing of more serious criminal cases. Through Justice Reinvestment funds from the Federal government, Mecklenburg County will receive funds to formally evaluate the citizen warrant process and the Citizen’s Warrant Court.

Address

Office Location:

Criminal Justice Services 600 E. Fourth St. Charlotte, NC 28202

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Criminal Justice Services