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.
A bag of chips shouldn't cost a kid his future-- or taxpayers a lifetime of support. But in North Carolina it does! A North Carolina high school student was arrested and charged with larceny in 2011 for stealing a .69 cent bag of Doritos from the cafeteria. Yes, this kid made a mistake and deserves consequences. But in N.C., our outdated system of trying 16 and 17-year-olds who commit minor, low-level crimes as adults means far more drastic and permanent consequences than almost anywhere in the country. By Raising the Age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18, we'll discipline our kids effectively and prevent them from becoming career criminals.
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.
Please sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures--that’s how many 16 and 17-year olds are convicted as adults in N.C. every year.