This doesn't happen by accident, it's a systemic problem:
13 – North Carolina has the 13th largest prison population in the country
37,104 – The number of people in prison in North Carolina as of May 2018
1 in 40 – The number of Black men in North Carolina who were imprisoned as of 2016
52.9 percent – While Black people made up only 21.5 percent of the state’s adult population in 2016, they accounted for more than half (52.9%) of the state’s prison population
That's roughly 18,550 black North Carolinians behind bars, and the vast majority of them are there for non-violent crimes. And with the penny-pinching associated with public defender funding, many of those currently incarcerated have legitimate Constitutional concerns about their treatment. But I'll let the public defenders themselves explain why that's wrong:
The defender systems that people must turn to are too often completely overwhelmed; many dedicated defenders simply have too many cases, too little time and too few resources to provide
quality or even adequate legal representation. Failing to provide the constitutionally guaranteed right to effective counsel, regardless of one’s ability to pay, is not simply a denial of justice, it is costly to individuals, families, communities and taxpayers. Individuals who do not receive quality defense may be more likely to end up behind bars or with a criminal conviction that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Families are torn apart when a loved one is sent to prison or can no longer work due to the collateral consequences of a conviction. Communities suffer both in terms of public safety and through unnecessarily losing friends, neighbors and co-workers who are locked up. And taxpayers bear the monetary costs when under-resourcing legal defense results in more—and more expensive—incarceration.
File that last sentence under the "false efficiencies" category, which probably makes that the stronger argument to use on Republicans. And here are a couple complaints that might be personal in nature, but when you're dealing with a voluntary system, you better pay attention:
Public service is a noble undertaking that entails long hours, hard work, and personal sacrifice. All prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers willingly signed on to that proposition when they
selected their profession. Obviously, they have not pursued their careers to get rich. They do expect, and reasonably so, that their chosen career would compensate them sufficiently, such that they could pay off college and law school loans, afford to live away from their parents’ homes, get married, buy a house, and raise a family.
I have creditors calling all of the time. My electric and water have each been shut off at least once since I've been here. I have absolutely no extra money to purchase anything for my kids and $0.00 is savings. Seriously, seriously stressed . . . beyond words. In tears now thinking about it.
Funding for the courts (should be) one of those things you don't screw around with, you don't try to cut costs here and there and force the system to adapt. Because one of the only ways it can adapt is by raising fees and bonds collected from those who can't afford it. That's not how any of this is supposed to work.