Serving North Carolinians

“If it makes North Carolina better, it’s worth it.”

Jessica Smith

“If it makes North Carolina better, it’s worth it.”

Jessica Smith — W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government and director of the Criminal Justice Innovation Lab (CJIL) at the UNC School of Government — has recently been recognized with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Dogwood Award for her work on pretrial reform.

The Dogwood Award honors North Carolinians who are dedicated to keeping their fellow citizens safe, healthy and happy in their communities.

“I share this award with my Criminal Justice Innovation Lab team and my research partners at UNC and beyond,” Smith said. “More importantly, I share it with the stakeholders — the judges, prosecutors, defenders, law enforcement leaders, legislators and community members who put their trust in me to work with them on the most pressing problems impacting communities. My work isn’t fast and my work isn’t easy, but if it makes North Carolina better, it’s worth it.”

CJIL convenes stakeholders within the criminal justice system to examine challenges, find consensus solutions and effectively measure the impact of their efforts to provide North Carolina officials with the tools and data they need to serve their communities.

“Jessie Smith is conducting important research into the way North Carolina’s bail system treats people,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “I appreciate the work Jessie has done on the issue of pretrial release and am proud to honor her with a Dogwood Award.”

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