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Legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction for youth accused of minor crimes will be heard in 2012

Raleigh, NC – A bill to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16- to 18-years-old will be considered during the short session of the General Assembly in 2012.  A bipartisan coalition including former NC SupremeCourt Justice Bob Orr successfully urged legislators to keep the bill in play.”We are losing an untold number of young people in North Carolina due to our treatment of 16 and 17 year-olds as adults when they commit low-level crimes,” said Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake).  “Raising the age is a win-win for our communities, our young people and our economy, and we look forward to working on the bill in 2012.”The legislation would raise the age  at which North Carolina sends young people accused of minor crimes to the adult correctional system from 16 to 18.  North Carolina is one of only two states that pushes all 16 and 17-year-olds into the adult system, where they are more likely to wind up repeat offenders.

Last week, Orr and former President of the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Frank Palombo joined the bipartisan team of legislators led by Representative Avila urging lawmakers to raise the age.  The two highly respected North Carolina leaders recently penned op-eds in the state’s leading newspapers in support of Raise the Age, Orr in The News & Observer  and Palombo in The Charlotte Observer.

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