The formula for reform

Transforming the state’s criminal justice system

Transforming the state’s criminal justice system

The shockwaves caused by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May have been felt more than 1,300 miles away in North Carolina. Anti-police brutality protests led by Black Lives Matter activists usher in changes throughout the state.Some police departmentsOpens in new window, including Raleigh and Charlotte, have started to adopt “8 Can’t WaitOpens in new window” reforms, a list of eight policing policies that, if enacted, could reduce police violence by 72%.

The U.S. criminal justice system is receiving a historic level of critical attention, particularly on front-end issues like police brutality, monetary bail systems and the criminalization of poverty. While this time is difficult to navigate,Jessica SmithOpens in new window, the W. R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government in the UNC School of Government, remains optimistic about the future — and busier than ever.

SmithOpens in new window, who also runs theCriminal Justice Innovation LabOpens in new window(CJIL), has worked tirelessly to support evidence-based reforms that promote a fair and effective justice system since she arrived at Carolina in 1999. Paperwork covering issues like policing and bail was piled on her desk long before such topics reached 24-hour news cycles in 2020.

“I’m really gratified that people in the community are beginning to understand the intersection of the justice system with so many social issues,” she said.

Read the complete Carolina Story…Opens in new window

UNC School of Government Funding Priorities

Readers Also Viewed...

SECU Foundation and LFNC members hold the $1 million check

Investing in Local Leadership

SECU Foundation Helps UNC School of Government Fund LFNC Fellowships.

Anita Brown-Graham poses outside on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus.

Preparing the Workforce for Economic Recovery

The ncIMPACT Initiative is partnering with myFutureNC to better align North Carolina's education system with the needs of the economy.

downtown Kinston with American flag

Giving Local Governments A Boost

New initiative builds professional skills for future leaders of local governments

Jessica Smith

Serving North Carolinians

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


Uncharted Territory

Leaders across the state are looking to Carolina for answers.


Anita Brown-Graham Discusses NcIMPACT

Anita Brown-Graham, professor of public law and government, describes how ncIMPACT works to resolve community challenges.