Reduce prison population and save NC millions by retroactively lowering mandatory minimums

Reduce prison population and save NC millions by retroactively lowering mandatory minimums

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PATHWAY 2 HOPE started this petition to North Carolina State House and

You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. - C.S. Lewis


Currently, the state’s prison system exacerbates harm by isolating people, perpetuating punitive living conditions, and providing little to no rehabilitation. Inhumane prisons do not serve the needs of crime survivors, communities, or those who are imprisoned. North Carolina’s prisons must be humane and safe facilities that offer dignity and ensure public safety. This does not make North Carolina safer.

Tell North Carolina's leaders that it's time to join the rest of the country. 

Bring some First Step Act's to North Carolina State prisons. As Trump said, even those that make mistakes deserve a chance. But with mandatory minimums the majority of these inmates will not have the opportunity to show that they can contribute to society.

Let's push our lawmakers to change these harsh sentencing statutes and reunite our families.

Pathway 2 Hope


North Carolina's First Step Act recommends several solutions to make North Carolina Department of Corrections system safer by  seeking to reshape North Carolina's tough-on-crime laws from the 1990s. Over the last decade or so, legislators across the country have learned that this was a mistake, and have recently been working on reversing our mass incarceration issues. Inmates who are sentenced using North Carolina Structured Sentencing guidelines, have ZERO % chance of an early release even if they exhibit GREAT behavior. North Carolina Structured Sentencing Act deprives individuals of a second chance, and comes at a high cost to the people of North Carolina.

These guidelines are a gross injustice causing thousands to be over sentenced. Intended to "reduce crime" they've been grossly unsuccessful and most state have already made these changes, while North Carolina is the last of the southern state to give take the first step towards reform.

• Reduce mandatory minimums from 100% to 65% for those sentenced under structured sentencing for all individuals. Restore hope to incarcerated persons. Lawmakers must incentivize good behavior by allowing early release initiatives, authorize retroactively. We can alleviate the madness of mass-incarceration by reinstating good time across the board for every offender

• Reestablish good behavior and works credits to address sentence lengths; offer trade skills to incarcerated persons to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
If there’s no opportunity to use time credited for good behavior, incentive is gone. What it does is, it takes away the hope. 
• Credits for parole eligibility are granted in other states, and have been boosted through the recent federal legislation known as the First Step Act 
• Mississippi lawmakers recently reduced their truth-in-sentencing provision from 85% to 50% offenders.

The measure adjusts the states sentencing structure and aligns North Carolina to states like South Carolina, Mississippi Missouri and Louisiana.

• Allow judges discretion to impose sentences other than the mandatory minimum prison term in some cases.

• State analysts crunched the numbers as to what would happen if inmates were allowed to be released earlier. The answer was eye-popping: By 2024, $860 million would be saved and about 9,000 additional prisoners would be released. That analysis could make advocating for this policy easier in the future

• Creates a task force to reevaluate North Carolina's entire criminal punishment code, and whether the set punishments fit the crime.

• We need to take a close look at what contributes to violence in our prisons and how our prisons can heal following recent tragic events, overcrowding and prison understaffing issues. We know that prison violence links persons together through a network of victims and offenders. Remarkable solutions to end prison violence are found in ensuring humane living conditions, supporting rehabilitative programming that includes education and anti-violence initiatives, and programming incentives for incarcerated persons.

• Expand in prison education. Officials must fully fund effective prison education and rehabilitation programs to improve safety within the prisons and in the communities where prisoners will return. In safe prisons and communities, there is mutual respect, trust, and an understanding of and a looking out for each other. Safety is not just about incarceration rates. Every day, we must work towards a vision of safety that is holistic and practical. This means taking a look at what our real goals are and should be around violence and violence prevention, implementing solutions that achieve rehabilitation, and relying on the knowledge and experience of overlapping survivor and offender networks to guide our policies.

• Allow for “Second Look” review policy for any prisoner who has served 15 or more years. The nonpartisan American Law Institute recommends a fair review of persons sentenced to long prison terms to decide whether, under present circumstances, the sentence originally imposed or a different sentence better serves the purposes of sentencing.

• Without seeing a parole board many people have little hope or reason to rehabilitate. They may not be employable due to age or other factors upon release, and may continue to be a financial burden on the state. Why not change these guidelines and give the state the opportunity to review appropriate candidates for supervised release? People on parole are required to work, pay taxes, pay parole fees, remain sober, do not commit crimes, and be monitored closely by parole officers who can offer assistance in finding employment and other resources

• Visit maximum security prisons. Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees must visit each level three prison to speak with incarcerated residents and observe the conditions of these state facilities.

Pathway 2 Hope provides support for both short and long term individuals who are incarcerated by advocating for changes within North Carolina legislation and policy changes within North Carolina Department of Corrections.

We invite North Carolina officials to work with us to make all of our communities safer.

For more information, contact Laura Anthony, at email:

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