Josh has a long history of working to keep the people of North Carolina safe. During his time as a state Senator, Josh worked tirelessly to keep kids safe at school, use DNA to take violent criminals off the street, and protect victims of domestic violence and ban electronic stalking from their abusers.
To live our lives to the fullest, we must first be safe and secure at home and in our communities. The Attorney General protects families from crime by prosecuting cases, overseeing criminal appeals, operating the State Crime Lab, and assisting local law enforcement.
Promoting public safety has been a priority for Josh Stein during his first term as North Carolina’s Attorney General.
Under Josh’s leadership as Attorney General, the State Crime Lab completed an audit of the untested sexual assault kits in the possession of law enforcement agencies around the state and found a backlog of 15,160 untested kits. In 2018, Josh launched a new statewide sexual assault kit tracking system, so suvivors can track these kits in real time, increasing transparancy and accountability. Josh also secured $4 million of grant funding to begin clearing the backlog of untested kits. These goals were furthered by the passage of the SURVIVOR Act in 2019, a bill drafted by Josh and his team at the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ), which appropriated an additional $6 million for kit testing. More than 1,000 old kits have been tested, resulting in many solved cold cases and the arrests of rapists. This brings justice for victims, makes our communities safer, and puts dangerous people behind bars.
Josh has also worked to ensure children’s safety. In 2019, the NC General Assembly unanimously passed the SAFE Child Act (SB 199), legislation drafted and championed by Josh and the NCDOJ. The SAFE Child Act ensures abuse is reported and prosecuted, protects children online from sexual predators, and allows adults who were abused as children to take their abusers to court for the damages they suffered.
As Attorney General, Josh has worked to reduce repeat crime through effective prisoner reentry programs. He supported the First Step Act and both the federal and state Second Chance Act to promote social and racial equity by facilitating the reentry of people leaving incarceration and empowering prosecutors to seek appropriate sentences. Josh believes in “banning the box” for job applications and supports reforming pre-trial release so people are detained based on the risk they pose to the community, not the size of their bank account.
During Josh’s tenure as AG, he persuaded the Criminal Justice and Sheriff’s Training and Standards Commission to require School Resource Officers to receive special training, including de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training. Josh hired a new Justice Academy Director who is focused on bringing new and improved techniques and training to law enforcement officers across North Carolina, helping shift our police and sheriff’s departments to a more community-focused approach.
In June 2020, Governor Cooper appointed Josh to co-chair the Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice. Along with NC Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, Josh is working with elected officials, criminal justice reformers, law enforcement, public defenders, and constituents from across the state to identify and implement changes in our criminal justice system to eliminate racial inequities.