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 enhancing pretrial services and the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), Mecklenburg County has succeeded in significantly reducing its jail population.
In 2020, Mecklenburg County was awarded an additional $1 million from the MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge to continue supporting the County’s efforts to develop and implement strategies capable of positively impacting the main drivers of the local jail population.
To continue safely reducing the jail population, the County plans to implement strategies aimed at addressing system inefficiencies, enhancing existing services, providing non-jail alternatives for defendants, and increasing community engagement in local justice system reform. This will include enhancing services provided to defendants pretrial, implementing more meaningful first appearance hearings and improving case processing, and partnering with residents to identify and implement community-led programs and policy interventions.