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On Wednesday, the NC House took action on two critical pieces of youth justice legislation: PREA Compliance (HB 585) and Criminal Law Procedures (HB 217).

The PREA Compliance legislation (HB585), passed the House with a final vote of 116 to 0.  HB 585, if passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, will bring North Carolina into compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. Failure to comply with PREA may eventually lead to the loss of federal funds for criminal justice programs. An amendment passed the House to exempt “local confinement facilities” (i.e. jails) despite clear federal guidelines that local jails are subject to the federal PREA standards.

HB 217, a bill to revise criminal law and procedures, passed the House with a 92-26 vote. This bill still includes the juvenile transfer section, which would remove discretion from judges in transfer cases involving 15 year olds accused of committing a B1 or B2 felony. The bill would give sole discretion to prosecutors in these cases. This bill would require the local elected/appointed district attorney to sign the motion for transfer.

As you know, the bill was amended in the Judiciary B Subcommittee and the resulting bill was a drastic improvement from the original language, which applied to ALL minors 13 years of age and older accused of a Class B1 through Class E felony.

While  it’s far from perfect– we will continue to oppose this legislation as it moves through the Senate.

Now HB 217 heads for the Senate where it will pass, UNLESS we act NOW! We must prevent this section from becoming law. To find who represents you, click here. Urge your Senator to preserve the unbiased, neutral decision making responsibilities of our judges in juvenile transfer cases. Urge your Senator to oppose HB 217!

For more information on HB 217 click here.

Raising the Age Update

In the next few weeks we expect action on the Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act (HB 725). The bill is waiting to be heard in the House Judiciary A Subcommittee. If you haven’t, please sign the Raise the Age petition by clicking here.

Contact your House members by following this link to remind them that it is time for NC to join 48 other states and raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for youth who commit misdemeanors. Click HERE to find out “Who Represents Me?”

We need you to take action to support this important bill. 2013 IS the year to raise the age!

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