On March 5, NC legislators introduced a bill that would allow for children as young as 13 to be placed in the adult criminal justice system. HB 217 would remove judicial discretion for certain felonies allegedly committed by juveniles 13 years or older and allow prosecutors to have absolute power to prosecute children.
Do you know what this means for kids who are incarcerated with adults?
- Youth are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in an adult facility than a juvenile detention facility;
- Kids in the adult system are 34% more likely than youth in the juvenile court system to reoffend;
- Kids are at an extremely high risk of physical and sexual assault when placed in adult facilities; and
- Youth of color are treated more harshly and are more likely than white youth to be prosecuted in the criminal justice system.
Currently under North Carolina law, judges weigh the protection of the public and the best interests of the juvenile in determining whether to transfer the case to adult court. Just by a written motion, the Juvenile Transfer section of HB 217 gives prosecutors the power to prosecute kids in the adult criminal court system and strips juvenile court judges’ of their decision making power.
Youth justice allies, including judges, university professors, attorneys, youth, legislators and advocates, have taken action to strongly oppose this counterproductive policy recommendation. Because of the quick response from advocates, the bill has been amended to only apply to 15 year olds who have allegedly committed certain felonies. But, advocates from across the state know that our work is not over. We refuse to allow the removal of judicial discretion and refuse to let ineffective policies like HB 217 throw more kids into the adult criminal justice system.
One message still rings clear:
We must remove the juvenile transfer section of HB 217. It is misinformed and counterproductive. The attack on the youth and communities of North Carolina must end today!
HB 217 is scheduled for a VOTE on the House floor on Tuesday, May 7th!!
1. Sign this petition - an email will automatically be sent to Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis and your House Representative.
2. For those in North Carolina, take the next 30 seconds to use the script below to call your Representative. Find their contact info here:
3. For allies outside of NC, please share this petition page with your NC friends and networks. Their voice is needed in this fight!
For more info on how you can help, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, my name is ___________. I am calling Representative ____________ to urge them to oppose the Juvenile Transfer Section of HB 217 when it comes up for a full House vote on Tuesday, May 7th.
This section of the bill would remove judicial oversight and lead to the unchecked prosecution of children in adult court. Deciding which court a youth should be processed through is a life-altering decision. Prosecutors should NOT be given complete discretion over our children’s future.
Judges should continue to serve as the neutral, unbiased decision maker in transfer cases. Oppose the Juvenile Transfer Section of HB 217 in order to maintain the appropriate checks and balances in NC’s court system. The future of our state depends on how we treat our children today!