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Find your way forward

Stakeholders want a criminal justice system that keeps communities safe, treats everyone equally, and uses resources wisely. But hurdles—like inertia, complexity, and insufficient data—can stifle efforts.

The Lab’s non-partisan approach uses real world research to help pinpoint problems, find solutions, and measure outcomes. With extensive experience and a wealth of tools and resources, we help stakeholders build consensus to find ways forward.

We don’t change the system.
You do.

Rather than championing specific policies, we provide a platform for consensus, along with the tools, data, and expertise needed for effective solutions.

Here’s what we offer:

  • non-partisan/non-advocacy approach
  • dynamic, interactive empirical data
  • comprehensive pilot project support
  • legal and empirical research
  • model tools like policies, forms, and more

Drive policy
using data

Whether you need to take in the big picture or drill down to a specific offense in a specific county, the Lab provides volumes of real world research and empirical data to help identify problems, innovate solutions, and measure results.

Here are just a few of the surprising numbers our research, data analyses, and projects uncover: 

infographic illustrating that the #1 reason for jail admission in examined NC counties is failure to appear on misdemeanor.
8 out of 10 incidents pick up no new pretrial criminal charges.
82% of 2021 NC criminal charges were for non-violent misdemeanors.

Explore criminal justice metrics
on your own

Our interactive Measuring Justice Dashboard lets you explore numerous North Carolina metrics with simple, clear visualizations. 

Compare charging rates by county. Parse pretrial failures by age, race, or incident type. Choose a specific year or a long timeline to identify positive patterns and uncover areas that may need attention. 

Check out these sample Dashboard data visualizations: 

This visualization reveals a stunning fact: of the 12.7M charges in NC since 2014, most—over 10M—were for non-violent misdemeanors.
Interested in citation vs. arrests metrics?  This visualization shows you state and county citation rates.

Explore our Measuring Justice Dashboard to uncover patterns, evaluate your county, and drill down on specific areas.

Find your focus

Drawing from our extensive toolbox—reports, projects, research, data dashboards, and more—you can innovate, implement, and evaluate policies in these five focus areas:

To explore our work in other focus areas, visit our Resource Library

Up now

Court Appearance Toolbox


Learn More About the Lab from Director Jessie Smith
Alternative Responder Programs


Supporting Criminal Justice Reform

In the news

New Funding from the Kenan Charitable Trust Supports Criminal Justice Innovation Lab’s Work
Citing Lab Data—Story About Reducing Arrests through Citations

Stay in the loop

“Research, scholarship, and data will help local leaders keep communities safe while honoring the dignity of each person touched by the justice system. We are excited to continue to support UNC’s Criminal Justice Innovation Lab in its mission to help improve public safety and strengthen communities.”