Raise the Age Legislation Introduced in North Carolina

Legislation was introduced in the N.C. General Assembly earlier today that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina to 18 for low-level felonies and misdemeanors. Under House Bill 280, most 16-and 17-year-olds charged with crimes would be referred to the juvenile system instead of the adult criminal system, which is the current practice.

Members of the public wishing to support the effort to Raise the Age can sign a petition at https://raisetheagenc.org/take-action/.

Ricky Watson, Co-Director of the Youth Justice Project, released the following statement after the bill was introduced:

“The Youth Justice Project views raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction as a true investment in our state’s youth.  Raising the age will inevitably yield a lasting return from a public health, public safety, and economic standpoint. It will give more youth the opportunity to avoid the devastating collateral consequences of a criminal charge. Most of North Carolina’s 16- and 17-year-olds will no longer suffer the potentially lifelong stigma of a criminal conviction that makes finding employment, securing housing, and accessing education and financial aid far more difficult for North Carolina youth than their peers in other states.  YJP recognizes that holding 16- and 17-year olds accountable in the rehabilitative framework of juvenile court is in the best interest of the public, as well as that of the individual juveniles. It also gives North Carolina’s children the best opportunity to become productive, economically independent, and well-adjusted adults. Ultimately, YJP hopes that this will be the first in a number of steps to improve juvenile justice in our state.”

YJP recognizes that holding 16- and 17-year olds accountable in the rehabilitative framework of juvenile court is in the best interest of the public, as well as that of the individual juveniles. It also gives North Carolina’s children the best opportunity to become productive, economically independent, and well-adjusted adults. Ultimately, YJP hopes that this will be the first in a number of steps to improve juvenile justice in our state.”

More information about the Raise the Age Coalition can be found at https://raisetheagenc.org/

More information about HB 280 can be found at http://bit.ly/NCRaisetheAge