The time for change is now. We are told that the State House will likely vote this week on House Bill 280, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, which would keep most kids out of the adult court system by raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction.
North Carolina is the only state that automatically charges all 16- and 17-year- olds as adults, regardless of the crime. The consequences of an adult criminal conviction for youth are serious, negative, life-long, and severely impair youth chances at future success. Children charged as adults have more trouble finding jobs, completing their education and staying in stable housing because of the permanent adult criminal records they carry with them.
Keeping young people in the juvenile court system works. It reduces recidivism, it involves family and holds parent accountable, and it has been shown to increase public safety and save states money in the long term.
That’s why legal experts and organizations across the political spectrum support ‘raising the age’ of juvenile jurisdiction to 18 years of age for most crimes. It is time for this outdated law to be modified for both the sake of our children and our communities.
House Bill 280, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, would ‘raise the age’ and keep most kids out of the adult court system. Please contact your legislator today and ask them to support HB 280!
- Click here for this useful tool to find out who represents you.
- Call and email your NC Senator and NC House Representative. (Calls are more personal and have a greater impact! When calling, be sure to say your full name, city, and the best phone number at which you can be reached.) If they are a co-sponsor of raise the age legislation then tell them “thanks”, if not then ask them for their support! (see sample message below).
- Write an email to your friends and family telling them why you believe this is an important issue and asking them to contact their NC Senator and NC House member. Link to: www.raisetheagenc.org and http://www.cfcrights.org/issues/policy-priorities/rta_2017/ to provide more background information.
“Dear Representative or Senator xxxxx: I urge your support of House Bill 280 to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18. As you probably know, North Carolina is one of only two states in the US that automatically treats all 16- and 17- year-olds as adults in the Court system. Evidence shows that the juvenile court system – with programs tailored to how children think and learn – is far more effective at rehabilitating youth, which means lower costs to society and more children growing up to become educated, employed citizens. Please support this important and much-needed change for our children. Thanks for all you do and for your service to the people of our great state.”