Eleven groups have joined to fight a bill that would end pre-trial release programs and require mentally ill people to stay in jail for 48 hours after arrest.
Thirty-two counties run pre-trial release programs, which try to prevent jail overcrowding by monitoring defendants who are released without bond prior to their court date.
Under the bill, pretrial release employees would not be able to interview defendants for at least 48 hours after their arrest. The bill's supporters say pre-trial release competes with the bail bond industry, and government should not compete with private business.
The Coalition For Persons Disabled By Mental Illness, which includes Easter Seals/UCP, the N.C. Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina said, "Overcrowded jails are not the place for individuals who require treatment."
Judges, sheriffs and county commissioners also oppose the bill.