Bail Reform in North Carolina—Pilot Project: New Decisionmaking Framework

In a series of posts I’ve been discussing bail reform, including highlighting pilot programs underway in North Carolina. In 2018, I worked with stakeholders in North Carolina’s Judicial District 30B (Haywood and Jackson counties) to help them identify and implement a basket of pretrial reforms. One of the implemented reforms is a new decisionmaking framework for determining conditions of pretrial release. Key features of the framework include:

  • An easily implemented, stakeholder-created tool to quickly identify low-risk defendants who immediately can be released on non-financial conditions.
  • A requirement that decisionmakers follow the statutory mandate and impose non-financial conditions unless they determine that such release will not reasonably assure appearance; will pose a danger of injury to any person; or is likely to result in the destruction of evidence, subornation of perjury, or intimidation of witnesses.
  • Recommended maximum bond amounts for secured bonds and the requirement that ability to pay be considered in connection with imposition of that form of release.

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