The Just Sentencing Project
The Just Sentencing Project (JSP) uses data, advocacy, and litigation to reduce long-term incarceration in North Carolina prisons. We also collaborate with law schools and criminal defense attorneys to provide legal services to those not otherwise entitled to them. JSP is headed by NCPLS attorney Ben Finholt.
The NC Department of Public Safety makes an enormous amount of data on convictions and incarceration publicly available. Using this data, we have been able to identify everyone in North Carolina who is serving a term of in excess of 20 years. We then use this data to identify clients and advocate or litigate for them as necessary.
Our litigation consists of motions for appropriate relief (MARs) and challenges in state and federal courts to the NC parole regime. North Carolina has a robust post-conviction statute that allows for criminal defendants and prosecutors to revisit sentences at any time to correct errors through MARs. This is accomplished both with and without “buy-in” from District Attorneys. We also advocate for those incarcerated for long terms through direct parole representation, a Juvenile Parole Project (in conjunction with UNC Law), and a clemency project (in conjunction with Duke Law).