State Government
Bill Would End Shackling Of Women Prisoners While Giving Birth PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:40

A broad, bipartisan coalition introduced House Bill 608 which would add protections and support for pregnant women in North Carolina’s prisons and jails and their babies. The bill was introduced by Reps. Kristin Baker (R-Cabarrus), Kyle Hall (R- Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry), Donna White (R – Johnston), and Ashton Wheeler Clemmons (D- Guilford ).

One key provision of the bill deals with the practice of shackling pregnant women during pregnancy and delivery. This dangerous practice still happens far too often inside North Carolina prisons and jails. The use of shackles can cause injuries to mothers and their babies, including physical trauma due to falls, increased pain during labor from bone separation and muscle tears, blocked circulation, and miscarriage.

Women are the fastest growing population in the state’s prison system. Unfortunately, the unique needs and challenges of this growing population of incarcerated women are often left out of the conversations surrounding criminal justice reform. The bi-partisan sponsors of Dignity for Women who are Incarcerated have recognized the burgeoning crisis of women’s health care in our prisons.


“The underlying principles embodied in Dignity for Women who are Incarcerated empower critical progress in protecting the health and well-being of women and their babies in our justice system, while also protecting the safety and security of all involved” said Rep. Kristin Baker. “The goals of ensuring public safety while maintaining dignity for women are not mutually exclusive, and I am proud to support and advance both goals with this bill which is both pro-family and pro-life.”

Dignity for Women who are Incarcerated would provide guidance to address pregnancy-related needs of incarcerated women. In addition to providing access to prenatal and post-delivery care and support to people who are pregnant and postpartum, training and technical assistance would be provided to correctional staff to ensure compliance. Without proper access and training, incarcerated women will continue to be body searched by male corrections officers leading to further trauma, and children will have less opportunity to visit their mothers who are serving time to ensure a familial bond. This is incredibly important considering that in North Carolina, one in four children will experience the incarceration of a parent before the age of 18.

“I am extremely proud to be a part of the collaborative work that culminates in our filing of this important legislation today,” said Rep. Ashton Wheeler Clemmons. “As a mother, once I heard the stories of women who were pregnant and gave birth while incarcerated, I knew we had to improve. Throughout the session we worked with stakeholder groups to create a broadly supported bill that protects pregnant women and their babies while keeping citizens in our state safe. This process created a bill with support of law enforcement, a wide range of advocates, and the women whose stories started us down this path. I look forward to continuing to advocate for its passage and signature.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:44
 
Office of Recovery And Resiliency Gets New Chief PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:34

The N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR), a division of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, has named Dr. Amanda Martin as the state chief resilience officer. In her new role, Martin will lead NCORR Resiliency Program efforts to increase North Carolina’s resilience in the face of future natural disasters and climate change. The program supports collaboration between government agencies, non-profits, the private sector and academia, with a goal of developing solutions that strengthen community resilience while protecting the environment.

“North Carolina is committed to rebuilding stronger than before and making sure our state is prepared for future storms," said Governor Roy Cooper. “I am grateful to Dr. Amanda Martin for taking on the role of chief resilience officer and helping us build back better.”

“Dr. Amanda Martin has made a tremendous impact on North Carolina throughout her service to our state,” Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks stated. “I am extremely pleased she has agreed to step into this important leadership role as we continue to build and maintain our resiliency in North Carolina.” 

Martin is a nationally recognized expert with more than a decade of experience in climate resilience, disaster recovery and community development. Her work has focused on building resilience in ways that advance economic prosperity, strengthen housing options and celebrate cultural and natural heritage. In her previous role as deputy chief resilience officer with NCORR, she helped advanced the state’s resiliency efforts through policy advising, stakeholder engagement and technical assistance. 

“Strong partnerships between local, state and federal organizations is a fundamental part of building community resiliency,” said N.C. Emergency Management Director Michael A. Sprayberry, who also serves as director of NCORR. “Dr. Martin has an exceptional ability to foster collaboration among groups with very diverse interests. Those skills are going to be a big asset as she leads the state’s resiliency initiative.”  

Martin holds a doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her dissertation examined post-disaster home buyouts in North Carolina from the perspectives of resilience, recovery and racial justice. She also holds a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. 
 
“In North Carolina, there are countless leaders in the public and private sectors who are committed to improving the resilience of our communities,” said Martin. “I am especially looking forward to leading a program that supports these partners through coordination, analysis and strategic support.”

Governor Cooper established NCORR in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence to streamline disaster recovery programs statewide and help communities rebuild smarter and stronger. In addition to the Resiliency Program, the office administers programs that support homeowner recovery, affordable housing, mitigation, strategic buyout, local government grants and loans, and pandemic-related rent and utility assistance. To date, North Carolina has invested more than $3.6 billion in state and federal funding to support recovery from hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Dorian and Isaias. Learn more about NCORR’s programs at https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:39
 
State Begins Vaccine Push PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:32
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is rolling out the Bringing Summer Back get-out-the-vaccine campaign that will engage community organizations across the state to fully vaccinate as many people as possible by summer.
 
To date, more than 3.6 million adults in North Carolina have been vaccinated with at least one dose. While the state has made great progress in helping people schedule and get to their vaccine appointments, more than half of the adult population is still completely unvaccinated, putting them at higher risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
 
Being fully vaccinated means getting back to hugging loved ones who are also fully vaccinated, gathering with fully vaccinated friends and family and going to small indoor gatherings with less worry. Getting the majority of North Carolina’s adults vaccinated by summer means getting back to the summer activities we all love — like backyard gatherings with families and friends, public fireworks, outdoor festivals or parades — all without wearing masks.
 
The Bringing Summer Back campaign is a fun, flexible and community-centered approach that creates a space for every organization and individual to roll up their sleeves and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and get everyone back to the people and places they love. The campaign will run during two weeks in May (May 9–15 and May 16–21) and two weeks in June (June 6–12 and June 20–26), during which organizations across the state will rally together to promote vaccination.
 
Organizations can get involved in a number of ways: 
Organize volunteer days: Invite members, volunteers and others to participate in a day(s) of phone banking, door knocking or other forms of outreach to the communities they serve.
Distribute resources: Notify communities about efforts to help people get COVID-19 vaccine appointments through emails, social media or other creative ways.
Host a get-out-the-vaccine challenge: Create friendly competition. See who can reach out to the most people via phone, door knocking, social media or other ways. Offer an incentive to get people motivated and involved.
Get creative: Come up with your own approach to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Organizations that would like to get involved can register to participate and access toolkit materials at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/BringSummerBack (Spanish: covid19.ncdhhs.gov/Devueltaalverano) or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The toolkit offers simple, specific steps everyone can take to navigate people to an appointment, such as calling loved ones who haven’t been vaccinated yet, sharing their experience on social media and asking if anyone needs support in getting vaccinated.
 
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina, visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov or call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 888-675-4567. Appointments can be made by visiting myspot.nc.gov. 
 
NC Will Lift Most COVID 19 Restrictions By June 1 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 21 April 2021 16:23
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. laid out a timeline for lifting current pandemic restrictions. With stable trends and continued vaccination success, the state expects to lift mandatory social distancing, capacity, and mass gathering restrictions by June 1. The Governor plans to issue an executive order next week outlining safety restrictions for the month of May.
 
“Each shot in an arm is a step closer to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror,” said Governor Cooper. “North Carolinians have shown up for each other throughout this entire pandemic and we need to keep up that commitment by getting our vaccines.”
 
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. This fast and fair approach to getting shots in arms is the best way to beat this pandemic, protect one another, boost the economy and make it possible for restrictions to be lifted. 
 
To date, the state has administered over 6.5 million vaccines. 46.9 percent of adults are at least partially vaccinated, and 35.1 percent are fully vaccinated. More than 76 percent of people 65 and older have had at least one shot. 
 
With vaccine now widely available across the state – often with no wait for an appointment, all North Carolinians 16 and older can plan to take their shot. The state anticipates lifting the mask mandate and easing other public health recommendations, once two thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose and if trends remain stable.
 
“We are at an exciting moment. We now have enough vaccine for everyone,” said Secretary Cohen. “If you are 16 and older, it is your turn to join the more than 3.6 million North Carolinians who have already taken their first shot. It’s up to you to get us to the two thirds goal as quickly as possible so we can live with this virus and begin to put this pandemic behind us.”
 
Gov. Cooper and Sec. Cohen urged North Carolinians continue to get vaccinated and exercise good judgment even when restrictions are lifted. Businesses should continue to follow voluntary health recommendations and North Carolinians should continue to take safety measures in order to boost the economy, keep children in schools and protect each other.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released statistics indicating that North Carolina is among the states with the fewest deaths and fewest job losses per capita.
 
State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.
 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 April 2021 16:25
 
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