Mecklenburg County is the most populous county in North Carolina, whose county seat and principal city is Charlotte. The jurisdiction is engaged in several collaborations aimed at improving the local criminal justice system. Since implementing evidence-based practices, such as using risk-based rather than charge-based release decisions, Mecklenburg County has succeeded in significantly reducing its jail population.
In 2017, Mecklenburg County was awarded $2 million from the MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge to help support the county’s efforts to develop and implement strategies capable of positively impacting the main drivers of the local jail population.
To continue reducing the jail population safely, the county plans to implement new strategies capable of enhancing existing services, expanding the utilization of non-jail alternatives for low-risk defendants, and increasing the community’s involvement in the process of local justice system reform. This will include enhancing services provided to defendants pretrial, improving current bail policy, and partnering with community residents to identify and implement community-led programs and policy interventions.