Gavel and Book

Why It’s Time to Raise the Juvenile Age

When children end up in the adult criminal justice system, no one wins. Research shows that prosecuting youth charged with low-level crimes in the adult criminal justice system wastes young lives, fosters crime, does not increase public safety, and costs society more in the long run.

Youth charged with low-level crimes should be handled in the juvenile justice system.

Evidence shows that the juvenile system – with programs tailored to how children think and learn – is more effective at rehabilitating youth. Fewer then go on to commit another crime, which means lower costs to society and more children growing up to become educated, employed citizens.

North Carolina remains one of only two states in the nation that still prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, regardless of the severity of the crime. When youth end up in adult court, there is limited access to rehabilitative programming, mentoring, counseling, or even education.

Tell North Carolina’s leaders that it’s time to join the rest of the country. Tell them to throw out this nearly 100-year-old law and put 16- and 17-year-olds accused of low-level crimes in the juvenile justice system, where they can be treated, rehabilitated, educated, counseled, and prepared for a successful life.

Positive Steps Towards Decriminalizing School Misbehavior In Wake County

Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 may be able to avoid a permanent criminal record with a new program being rolled out in Wake County. The details of the county funded program are still being finalized, but the program was developed in response to North Carolina being one of only a few states that automatically prosecutes 16 and 17 year olds as adults. The program is only opened to students who commit nonviolent misdemeanors at school. Prior to the program, these children would have entered the adult criminal system. Now, they have to opportunity to be diverted to alternatives such as Teen Court and mediation. Every child who successfully completes the program, which includes treatment for behavioral issues, would face no criminal charges or have an arrest record on file.

Hopefully, this program will help close the school-to-prison pipeline and get North Carolina one step closer to raising the age.

You can read the rest of Positive Steps Towards Decriminalizing School Misbehavior In Wake County at the News and Observer.

From Our Blog: Raising the Age Updates