RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Sunday, members of the ACLU of North Carolina and Decarcerate Now NC held a mock funeral outside of the Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh to remember people who died inside state prisons in 2022.

“He has not done enough, he has done several good starts, and we want to encourage him to expand the use of clemency in North Carolina,” said Kristie Puckett, with the ACLU of North Carolina.

While many people celebrated the new year on Sunday, members of the ACLU of North Carolina and Decarcerate Now NC took the time to bring attention to those incarcerated in the state.

“People who are on death row or have life without parole never have hope of getting out, and so they rely solely on Governor Cooper, or the person who sits in this governor seat, to provide that material relief that only he can provide,” Puckett said.

Puckett says the reasons behind incarceration vary.

“We know that criminalizing poverty and substance use and mental health is a huge issue inside of our prisons, so we have defunded our health care systems and funded our incarcerated state,” she said.

But she says all people behind prison walls deserve a chance at life.

“At the end of the day, people are people,” Puckett said.

Now in 2023, the activists want Cooper to grant clemency to all people on death row in the state and to expand resources and protections inside prison walls.

“People incarcerated are still your neighbors, and they still are deserving of the love, of the community care, of all that this community has to offer,” Puckett said.