For Immediate Release:
Monday, December 14, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein and Associate Justice Anita Earls, co-chairs of the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, today delivered the Task Force’s recommendations report to Gov. Roy Cooper. In its report, the Task Force recommends solutions to stop discriminatory and biased practices, achieve racially fair outcomes, and increase accountability in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems. An overview of the recommendations is available here, and an executive summary of the report is available here. The full report is available here.
“For far too long, Black people and white people have not been treated equally in the United States, and this failure has caused real harm,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m grateful to every person who has worked on this Task Force, as well as people across the state who have volunteered their time and shared their experiences with us. Our report identifies opportunities for real change to make the criminal justice system fairer for every North Carolinian. I look forward to continuing this necessary work.”
“Today’s report is a next step towards the actions that North Carolina must take to end racial disparities in the criminal justice system, not the final word,” said Associate Justice Anita Earls. “The implementation chart listing all the recommendations will help direct our work ahead and monitor our progress. I am grateful for the hundreds of people from diverse perspectives who gave us their best thinking on what needs to change; to be successful, we will need their continued involvement going forward.”
Gov. Cooper established the Task Force in June 2020, after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others at the hands of law enforcement officers. Their deaths led to widespread public protests and conversations about the systemic racism and resulting harm that Black people and other communities of color experience.
The Task Force is comprised of a diverse group of North Carolinians, including advocates for criminal justice reform, victims’ rights, and disability rights, people with first-hand experience in the justice system, law enforcement officers, police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and elected officials. Task Force members heard from academics, experts, the general public, and local community leaders as they formed their recommendations.
In addition to the issues and solutions it identifies, the Task Force provides the necessary actions required to successfully implement these solutions in North Carolina. The Task Force’s racial equity recommendations fall into two primary categories: law enforcement and the courts. Law enforcement recommendations include solutions to reimagine public safety, improve policing practices, enhance accountability, and strengthen recruitment, training, and the law enforcement profession. Court recommendations include solutions to eliminate racial disparities in the courts and promote racial equity post-conviction.
These recommendations are only the Task Force’s first step. Over the next two years, the Task Force will work with policymakers and partners to implement these solutions.
More information on the Task Force’s work is available at https://ncdoj.gov/trec/.