Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission

Makes recommendations to the General Assembly for the modification of sentencing laws and policies.


The North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission was created by the General Assembly in 1990 to make recommendations to the General Assembly for the modification of sentencing laws and policies, and for the addition, deletion, or expansion of sentencing options as necessary to achieve policy goals. Specifically, the Commission was directed to:

  • Classify criminal offenses into felony and misdemeanor categories on the basis of their severity;
  • Recommend structures for use by a sentencing court in determining the most appropriate sentence to be imposed in a criminal case;
  • Develop a correctional population simulation model;
  • Recommend a comprehensive community corrections strategy and organizational structure for the State; and,
  • Study and make additional policy recommendations.

The Commission has 29 members drawn from all three branches of government; from all areas of the criminal justice system; and from the public. The Commission's prior work led to the passage of the Structured Sentencing Act which became effective in 1994. That law established truth in sentencing and prescribed sentencing options for judges based on the severity of the crime and the prior record of the offender.

History of SPAC/Structured Sentencing

Structured Sentencing Resources

Citizen's Guide to Structured Sentencing

Describes the system of sentencing and punishing offenders in North Carolina under Structured Sentencing.

Offense Classifications

Lists of Felony and Misdemeanor offenses classified under the Structured Sentencing Act for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2023.

Punishment Grids

Minimum/Maximum Sentence Tables for felony, misdemeanor, Class B1 through E Sex Offenders, and Advanced Supervised Release (ASR).

Structured Sentencing Training and Reference Materials

Describes the substance and application of the sentencing laws for felonies and misdemeanors covered by the Structured Sentencing Act.

Sentencing and Corrections Publications

Adult Correctional Population Projections

Projects the state correctional facility population for the next ten fiscal years.

Adult Recidivism/Correctional Program Evaluation

Studies the recidivism of adult offenders who were released from prison or placed on supervised probation.

DWI Convictions Statistical Reports

Examines convictions and sentences imposed for Driving While Impaired offenses.

JRA Implementation Evaluation Report

Evaluates the implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act in North Carolina.

SMCP Capacity Projections

Projects available bed space for the Statewide Misdemeanant Confinement Program for the next five fiscal years.

Structured Sentencing Statistical Reports

Examines sentences imposed under the Structured Sentencing Act for both felony and misdemeanor convictions.

Juvenile Justice Publications

Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) Program Effectiveness Reports

Evaluates the relationship between Juvenile Crime Prevention Council participants’ characteristics, program participation, and recidivism.

Juvenile Recidivism Studies

Studies the recidivism of juveniles who were brought to court with a delinquent complaint.

Youth Development Center Population Projections and Juvenile Dispositions

Projects Youth Development Center population for the next five fiscal years and provides juvenile dispositions for ten fiscal years.

Review of Proposed Legislation Reports

Reports on Proposed Legislation Pursuant to G.S. 164-43

Review of proposed legislation introduced in the General Assembly relating to criminal and juvenile justice with findings and recommendations.

Study Reports

Study Reports

A collection of Sentencing Commission study reports on various criminal justice topics of interest, many in response to legislative directives or requests.

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Telephone(919) 890-1470

Fax(919) 890-1933

Mailing Address

N.C. Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission
North Carolina Judicial Center
PO Box 2448
Raleigh, NC 27602

Physical AddressN.C. Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission
North Carolina Judicial Center
901 Corporate Center Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607