ACLU Of NC Opposes New Opioid Sentencing Proposal

ACLU Of NC Opposes New Opioid Sentencing Proposal

3:24pm Mar 07, 2018
District attorneys from New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus, and Bladen counties are seeking a minimum bail amount of $1 million for anyone charged with distributing or trafficking opioids. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Civil rights groups are speaking out against a proposal from eastern North Carolina counties to increase the bail amount for people facing some drug charges.

Under the plan, district attorneys will ask for a minimum bail of $1 million for anyone charged with distributing or trafficking opioids. Ultimately it’s up judges to set the final amount.

The group of DAs says this could increase the local jail population by 20 inmates per night, keeping dealers off the streets and preventing overdoses and other crimes while the accused wait for trial.

But Mike Meno with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says there isn't solid evidence to support those claims.

“Setting high bail amounts doesn't do much to deter crime," he says. "But it does fuel mass incarceration by overcrowding jails and often delaying or denying justice to people by keeping them locked away before they’ve even had the chance to face trial.”

A statewide task force is currently examining whether or not stiffer sentences actually reduce opioid-related crime.

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