Forward Justice

Using Policing Data and Collaboration to Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform

Mecklenburg County, NC

In North Carolina, Black people represent 22 percent of the population but account for 55 percent of the state prison population. This mass incarceration of Black people is a result of discriminatory overpolicing. To illuminate the urgency of reforming North Carolina’s criminal legal system, many stakeholders—people with criminal records, their family members, service providers, faith communities, community leaders, and concerned residents—need easily accessible data on the overpolicing of Black communities and other communities of color. They also need support on how to use data to effect change.

With Catalyst Grant funding, Forward Justice, in partnership with the Mecklenburg County chapter of the NC Second Chance Alliance, will expand statewide website NC CopWatch to add data on traffic stops and use of force by police in Mecklenburg County. It will also develop community-informed toolkits to guide advocates on using the new data to convince policymakers to enact criminal justice reform. Forward Justice and the Mecklenburg Chapter of the NC Second Chance Alliance aim for this project to mobilize new activists fighting to reduce the scope of discriminatory policing and the scale of one of its many harmful effects: mass incarceration.