NC Juvenile Justice Reform Gains Support 1

North Carolina is one of two remaining states to treat 16 and 17 year olds accused of crimes as adults in the criminal justice system. Under a law that took effect in 1919, there are no exceptions to this rule. Over the years, many legal and psychological experts have compiled data to show the shortcomings of strictly prosecuting minors as adults, and many states have changed their policies to allow these cases to be handled in the juvenile justice system. Although North Carolina has not been one of them, new efforts to reform this policy are gaining momentum.

Due in part to increasing awareness of the law and efforts from organizations like the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ), which band numerous advocates and law enforcement officials together in support of juvenile justice reform. Recently, the organization released a recommendation that North Carolina handle criminal cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds in juvenile court.

Advocates cite a number of reasons for supporting the change. First and most importantly, it protects minors, who face increased risks of suicide, assault, and recidivism when housed in adult jails. Additionally, it provides minors with the second chance they often need, free from the criminal records than can limit opportunities at a young age. Additionally, it’s seen as a fiscally responsible decision that can ease overcrowding and stress on an overburdened jail and prison system.

At Dummit Fradin Attorneys at Law, our  criminal defense lawyers fight for individu