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Posts published in “Justice”

Reparations, Six Months Later: So Far, Empty Promises

Six months ago, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County both passed resolutions to consider reparations to the Black community as a way to begin making amends for slavery and generations of systemic discrimination. The votes were hailed as “historic” by The Asheville Citizen Times, and ABC News asked, “Is Asheville a national model?”

Since then, local officials concede, little has been done. Some in the Black community see zero progress.

“From my understanding, they’ve done nothing,” said Rob Thomas, community liaison for the Racial Justice Coalition. 

Despite the fanfare they received at the time, the reparations resolutions are in limbo, still as lacking in specific remedies as they are in financial commitment or engagement with the Black community. The Asheville resolution called for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission to begin drafting recommendations.

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Asheville Police calls: Roadmap for Defunding?

Of 911 calls and requests for assistance to Asheville Police, less than 1 percent involve a violent crime, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police dispatch data shows.

Much of the time, police are summoned to routine calls such as traffic accidents, domestic disputes and loud parties or non-violent crimes like shoplifting, trespassing and prostitution, according to the analysis of more than two years of 911 calls.

“The reality of policing is that the majority of their time is spent on things totally unrelated to crime,’’ said Matthew Robinson, a professor of criminal justice at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. “We know that 75 to 80 percent of an officer’s time is spent providing social services and routine administrative tasks like filling out reports.”

The role of law enforcement and questions about whether some police functions are better delegated to trained,

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‘We’ve proved that we can’ Pandemic speeds criminal justice reforms

Coronavirus has led to dramatic changes in crime and justice in Asheville from the courtroom to the cop on the street.

Reported crimes are down, police are making fewer arrests and inmates are being sprung from jail.

Criminal cases filed in Buncombe court have declined sharply since mid-March.
Source: North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts 

And the criminal justice system of the future may bear little resemblance to pre-Covid-19 with lawyers in masks, social distancing in the courtroom and an excuse to get out of jury duty that could apply to a sizable portion of the population. Pre-existing conditions and even age could be a legitimate reason not to serve.

The impact may last well past the pandemic and could finally achieve a long-heralded reform: converting the county jail from a holding pen for the poor to a lockup reserved for serious offenders.

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‘We’ve proved that we can’
Pandemic speeds criminal justice reforms

Coronavirus has led to dramatic changes in crime and justice in Asheville from the courtroom to the cop on the street.

Reported crimes are down, police are making fewer arrests and inmates are being sprung from jail.

Criminal cases filed in Buncombe court have declined sharply since mid-March.
Source: North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts 

And the criminal justice system of the future may bear little resemblance to pre-Covid-19 with lawyers in masks, social distancing in the courtroom and an excuse to get out of jury duty that could apply to a sizable portion of the population. Pre-existing conditions and even age could be a legitimate reason not to serve.

The impact may last well past the pandemic and could finally achieve a long-heralded reform: converting the county jail from a holding pen for the poor to a lockup reserved for serious offenders.

READ MORE