Mecklenburg County is the most populous county in North Carolina. Its county seat and principal city is Charlotte.
Mecklenburg County is engaged in a number of collaborations aimed at improving the local criminal justice system. The jurisdiction has succeeded in significantly reducing its jail population in recent years. As a site in the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative at the Local Level, the county has worked to understand the drivers of jail usage and to devise innovative solutions. For example, a license restoration clinic is currently being piloted as a way of reduce charges for low-level offenses, such as driving with a revoked licenses. The County is among five sites working with the Arnold Foundation to pilot a new Public Safety Assessment-Court tool. This standardized risk-based decision-making process provides objective data to judicial officers making bond determinations; and, the Board of County Commissioners recently approved a revised bail policy reflecting this shift toward evidence-based practice. Additionally, a task force called Race Matters for Juvenile Justice is currently facilitating Dismantling Racism workshops and implementing other strategies to reduce the impact of implicit bias and institutional causes of disproportionate justice system outcomes.
Mecklenburg County’s Criminal Justice Services, which coordinates the Criminal Justice Advisory Group and led the cross-agency work on reforming the bail system, is leading the county’s Safety and Justice Challenge effort.