According to data from the FBI, cases involving misdemeanor charges account for 80 percent of criminal dockets in America. There are about 13 million misdemeanor cases annually in North Carolina and throughout the country. Such a large caseload may result in individuals not getting the outcomes that they may deserve. This is because public defenders may lack the time and other resources to give a defendant the zealous defense to which he or she is entitled.
The First Step Act is intended to be a method in which the criminal justice system becomes more equitable. It was created through a joint effort from President Trump and the American Civil Liberties Union. However, it is unclear how it will ultimately help those with cases in North Carolina and other states. It is also unclear what its final form will be or if it passes over the objections of those in Congress.