Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM APPLAUDS INTRODUCTION OF NORTH CAROLINA NEXT STEP ACT
The bill includes prison reforms that would strengthen families and reduce recidivism.
RALEIGH, NC – FAMM applauds the introduction of the North Carolina Next Step Act, HB 988, by Reps. Holly Grange (R-20), Rena Turner (R-84), and Jon Hardister (R-59). The bill complements the mandatory minimum drug sentencing reforms of the NC First Step Act, SB 404, and includes important prison reforms designed to maintain family unity during prison – a key factor in reducing recidivism.
FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill issued the following statement in response to the bill’s introduction:
“Both research and common sense tell us that people coming home from prison do better if they have a family to come home to. Children do better when they can maintain relationships with their incarcerated parents. The Next Step Act is evidence-based and full of heart – it’s a pro-family, pro-safety bill that is going to keep families together through the prison experience and reduce recidivism. That’s a big win for North Carolina communities.”
If passed, the Next Step Act would:
- Require the North Carolina Department of Public Safety to keep prisoners who are parents of minor children incarcerated in facilities within 250 driving miles of their children, whenever possible;
- Require the Department of Public Safety to adopt rules so that minor children can have contact visits with low or minimum-security custody parents in prison at least twice per week;
- Require the Department of Public Safety to keep people in facilities within 125 driving miles of their families, whenever security, programming, and capacity needs permit;
- Require a study of the number of elderly and seriously ill people in North Carolina prisons and recommendations for improving current procedures to allow for more releases of those who are costly to incarcerate but do not pose a public safety threat;
- Provide funding to increase drug and mental health treatment in North Carolina prisons;
- Provide funding to Local Reentry Councils to help returning citizens find housing and transportation, which are key to staying crimefree;
- Ban the use of solitary confinement or shackles on pregnant prisoners, and require that women who give birth in prison be given a three-day bonding period with their newborn;
- Require the Department of Public Safety to provide adequate menstrual products to all women in North Carolina prisons;
- Ban driver’s license revocations for moving violations based solely on the person’s inability to pay a fine, penalty, or court costs.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.
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