Individuals convicted of a felony offense in North Carolina are sentenced according to the structured sentencing grid for both minimum and maximum penalties, taking into account any prior criminal history. North Carolina law requires that inmates serve at least 100 percent of their minimum sentence. There are certain exceptions to this – watch this blog for information on NC’s Advanced Supervised Release (ASR) program.
But, rather than spend every last minute behind bars, the North Carolina criminal justice process allows for release to a supervision program. This takes the place of parole for criminal offenses committed after 2011, when all felony convictions came with a mandatory Post-release supervision period. Depending on the level of the felony for which you were convicted, you will be released to supervision for 9 or 12 months. Those convicted of a felony sex offense will be released to supervision for five years.
Your release date will generally be calculated based on the maximum amount of time you could have spent in prison. If you are released sooner, you will still be required to spend the appropriate amount of time on supervised release. The release period is intended to allow you to readjust to being in the community while ensuring that public safety is still protected.
Not unlike parole, those on release from prison under the supervision program will be required to comply with certain conditions of release as established by the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. Release is not applied for; once you become eligible for release to the PRS program because you have served 100 percent of your minimum sentence or at least 85 percent of your max, the Commission only sets the conditions of your release.