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On this Valentine’s Day, thousands of North Carolina youth are languishing in the criminal justice system.

NC remains one of only two states in the entire nation that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year olds as adults, regardless of the severity of the crime.

This outdated law puts our youth at an economic disadvantage, unlike that of youth in 48 other states. This issue has been debated for several years, unfortunately without a resolution.  Last fall, a legislative committee convened for several months, to take another look at this issue, including a broader look at the juvenile justice system. The committee recommended that NC raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from age 16 to 18 for youth who commit minor offenses.

The facts and data speak for themselves, youth who go through the adult system are more likely to reoffend, and for more serious crimes. The juvenile justice system offers youth age-appropriate punishment, rehabilitation, education, counseling, and preparation for a successful life. Until North Carolina raises the age, these treatment and programming options will remain unavailable to thousands of 16- and 17-year-olds. 

Tell North Carolina leaders that it’s time for them to change this outdated law and follow the lead of 48 other states.

Will your voice be heard? Sign the petition to raise the age: http://www.change.org/petitions/north-carolina-get-children-out-of-the-a…

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