For Immediate Release: December 20, 2018
Ben Schaefer, media contact for Pretrial Justice Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org | 646-200-5284
Stacia Komosinski, media contact for Charles Koch Institute, email@example.com | 571-243-6987
The Pretrial Justice Institute and the Charles Koch Institute today released the results of a statewide public opinion poll that examines registered North Carolina voters’ views of the pretrial justice system and money bail. The results show that North Carolinians are ready for change. Among the key findings: North Carolina voters want their pretrial justice system to reserve detention for the relatively few people who pose a threat to community safety, release those who can be successful in the community before trial, and provide community-based services to those who need it.
“System stakeholders across North Carolina are taking up the work of improving their pretrial practices, and the state’s voters are ready for change to come,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute. “North Carolinians believe their pretrial system uses jail too readily for people who are charged with nonviolent crimes, and they’re ready to move toward a system that protects fairness and ensures public safety.”
The poll found that a majority of North Carolina registered voters believe that the wealthy enjoy substantially better outcomes than poor and working-class people. Moreover, 55% of respondents agree that white people enjoy substantially better outcomes from the criminal justice system than people of color.
“We must never forget the principle that Americans are innocent until proven guilty,” said CKI Senior Policy Analyst Jordan Richardson. “Decisions regarding bail should be based on risk rather than an individual’s ability to pay, and defendants should be treated with fairness throughout the legal process”
Other key findings from the poll include:
These findings present an important message for system stakeholders and elected officials who determine pretrial practices and policies. North Carolina voters support change. They believe their pretrial system uses jail too readily for people who are charged with nonviolent crimes, often in ways that do not serve public safety—survey respondents’ top priority. They also understand commonsense alternatives exist, and the more they learn about things like community-based support and services the more supportive they become.
This poll was commissioned by the Pretrial Justice Institute and designed and administered by Lake Research Partners. This survey was conducted by phone using professional interviewers and reached a total of 538 registered voters in North Carolina. The survey was conducted May 2 – 17, 2018.
Telephone numbers for the survey were drawn using a file of registered voters. The sample was stratified geographically to reflect the expected composition of registered voters statewide. Data were weighted by gender, age, education, party identification, race, and region. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.2%.
Find a report on the poll results here.
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