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RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Public Safety yesterday announced plans to end the practice of placing youthful offenders in solitary confinement by September 2016. North Carolina is one of two states in the country that still charges 16 and 17 year olds as adults and places them in adult correctional facilities.

As of June 7, there were 67 children under the age of 18 in North Carolina prisons, 16 of which were segregated from the general population in some form of solitary confinement. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that it would end the solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons.

In 2015, a coalition of human rights organizations sent a letter asking the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into the use of solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons.

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NORTH CAROLINA — American singer-songwriter and former Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh announced he will give a portion of the proceeds from two upcoming shows in North Carolina to the ACLU to support its lawsuit fighting the anti-LGBT law House Bill 2, which removes protections for LGBT people and prohibits transgender people from using facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

Net profits from Walsh’s June 30 show (with Bad Company) in Charlotte and August 9 solo show in Raleigh will also go to Equality North Carolina. Both groups will be on site at the show to engage with attendees.

ACLU of North Carolina Policy Director Sarah Preston said the following in response:

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RALEIGH – In court documents filed yesterday, North Carolina and the University of North Carolina system argue that House Bill 2 (H.B. 2) – the state’s sweeping and discriminatory law that bans transgender people from public restrooms that match their gender identity and removes legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and others – should remain in effect while a legal challenge proceeds in federal court.

On May 16, six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to stop the enforcement of the provisions of North Carolina House Bill 2 that target transgender people for discrimination in single-sex facilities while the case proceeds through the court system.

The individuals and ACLU members are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, the national American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Jenner and Block.

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RALEIGH – A bill that would allow law enforcement agencies to shield officer worn body camera footage from public view unless ordered to release the footage by a court was approved by a North Carolina House committee today. HB 972 was approved by the House Judiciary II Committee and sent to the House Finance Committee. If it is approved by the second committee, the bill could be sent to the House floor for a vote.  

Under HB 972, body camera and dash camera footage would not be a public record. Law enforcement agencies would have the discretion to release footage to people who are recorded, but if the agency denies a request to release the footage, the recorded individual would have to bring a claim in court to attempt to obtain the footage. There would be no mechanism for law enforcement to release videos of public interest to the general public other than through a court order.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies in North Carolina are using or have plans to acquire police body cameras, but many lack policies that allow public access to the recordings.

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