Oppose the Juvenile Transfer section of HB 217
  • Petitioned Representative Thom Tillis

This petition was delivered to:

Speaker of the House
Representative Thom Tillis
North Carolina State House

Oppose the Juvenile Transfer section of HB 217

    1. NC Youth Justice
    2. Petition by

      NC Youth Justice

      Carrboro, NC

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: ncyouthjustice@gmail.com


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!

Thank you.




Recent signatures


    1. Reached 750 signatures
    2. HB 217 is up for a vote TOMORROW, April 17th

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser

      Legislators delayed a vote on HB 217 once again after acknowledging the opposition of youth advocates. The vote is expected to be called on April 17 and legislators must continue to hear ours concerns until the bill is defeated. It is critical that you continue to contact the committee members today and tomorrow. Here is the message North Carolina youth leaders are sharing:

      Call tonight and leave a message for Rep. Stam (919-733-2962), Rep. Faircloth (919-733-5877) and Rep. Jordan (919-733-7727) and tell them, "I'm calling to urge you to remove the Juvenile Transfer section of HB217 at the hearing on April 17th. Thank you." Let's make sure their voicemail boxes are full when they walk into their offices in the morning. Then join us and pack the room at 10am at the General Assembly, Raleigh, in LOB421. Let's go!

    3. Color of Change joining the fight against HB 217!

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser

      ColorofChange.org is spreading the word and activating their North Carolina network! Check out their blog post and learn how you can join them in taking action to oppose the juvenile transfer section of HB 217.

      TAKE ACTION: North Carolina may send more 13 year olds to adult prison

      UPDATE: 4/11/13: Legislators delayed a vote on HB 217 once again after acknowledging the opposition of youth advocates. The vote is expected to be called on April 17 and legislators must continue to hear ours concerns until the bill is defeated.UPDATE: 4/8/13 A vote on the disastrous HB 217 has been rescheduled for this Wednesday, April 10th.

    4. HB 217 will be brought up for a vote THIS Wednesday, April 10th TAKE ACTION

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser

      Youth justice allies - Thank you for your continued efforts to oppose HB 217. The sponsors of the bill will ask for a VOTE on HB 217 this Wednesday, 4/10 at 10am in room 421 LOB in Raleigh, NC. We urge you to attend the hearing and to spread the word!

      Today, your actions can prevent this detrimental bill from moving forward. Please call the committee members and let them know:

      I oppose section 7, of HB 217. North Carolina MUST maintain judicial discretion over transfer cases affecting kids. The decision to transfer a kid to the adult criminal justice system is life altering and should be left in the hands of a judge. Say no to section 7, of HB 217!

    5. Reached 500 signatures
    6. The Charlotte Observer: NC lawmakers should reject HB 217

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser
      Bill could send more minors to adult jails

      Any N.C. legislator seriously favoring the part of House Bill 217 giving prosecutors authority to send children as young as 13 to adult criminal court should see last week’s “Rock Center” on NBC. What happens to many juveniles in the adult criminal justice system was on stark display.

    7. News&Observer coverage of HB 217 - NC should not throw kids in adult court!

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser
      NC should say no to trying 13-year-olds in adult court | Other Views | NewsObserver.com

      This proposal would send more children into the adult criminal justice system when study after study has shown that this path substantially increases the likelihood that a youth will reoffend. These studies have been produced by a diverse group of experts: criminologists, attorneys and medical professionals.

    8. HB 217 in the Media! NC Policy Watch - "Lowering the age?!"

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser
      Lowering the age?! | NC Policy Watch

      State House proposal flies in the face of research on juvenile justice For years now, advocates on behalf of children in North Carolina have been attempting to change an antiquated state law that makes North Carolina a complete outlier in its treatment of children accused of crime.

    9. Your actions have slowed down HB 217 but the fight is not over! TAKE ACTION

      NC Youth Justice
      Petition organiser

      Your quick response to stand in solidarity with North Carolina youth & families slowed down HB 217. Here is what YOU accomplished:

      - In less than 2 days, over 400 of you signed the petition. This means that each of the 14 committee members received over 400 emails urging them to oppose section 7 of HB 217.
      - You flooded their phone lines and inboxes! And through social media efforts you spread the word about the hearing. The morning of March 20th, the room was PACKED with people opposing HB 217!

      The fight is not over!

      At the March 20th hearing, your presence online and in the hearing led to many of the committee members to question the bill and a vote was not requested. The sponsors of the bill decided to take a step back and open the door for feedback.

      1) Join other organizations submitting letters to oppose HB 217. If you need assistance, contact us: ncyouthjustice@gmail.com
      2) Continue to share this petition with your friends and networks! Help NC reach 500!!

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    10. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Jennica Munden PUEBLO, CO
      • 9 months ago

      The problem is, there are some psychotic, evil-wicked, ungodly "children" out there Look up "serial killer children." Some "kids" are more wicked than most adults.

    • Rob Leftwich ASHEVILLE, NC
      • about 1 year ago

      I work with juveniles in the court system and have worked with many 16 yr olds who have charges in adult court. 16 yr olds are far too young to be in the adult system and i support changing the age to 18 for adult offenders

    • Carol White WILSON, NC
      • about 1 year ago

      Concern as an educator that the best for youth will not be addressed. One person making decisions without input from a team of people.

    • Alissa Ellis DURHAM, NC
      • about 1 year ago

      I cannot sit idly by as NC devolves into a state that condones injustice. Minors and children should not be treated as adults. They are fundamentally different than adults in terms of cognitive development. Additionally, this bill targets youth of color and those suffering in poverty who do not have adequate institutional support from OUR state of NC. NC cannot continue to create crushing inequality, especially among youth, and then enact legislation that targets those suffering at the hands of our state.

    • Fabrice Blackson CARY, NC
      • about 1 year ago

      Because of my work with you development and helping youth get into college. Criminal records for youth are detrimental. They impact a youth's college future, from enrollment to financial aid eligibility.


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