By Sondra Stein, Chair, Peoples Alliance Race Equity Team
North Carolina is the only state in the nation that still treats 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system. HB 280, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, is our best chance to change that and give teenagers who are guilty of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony a chance to start over and build a decent life.
The bill is expected to pass the House this week and there is also strong support in the Senate. But Senator Berger does not support it. We need to do all we can to convince him that raising the age is in the best interests of teen offenders and also of all of us in North Carolina. It saves lives. It save money. It delivers necessary services to young people with disabilities. It moves young people out of harm’s way and gives them a chance to build the knowledge and skills and temperament they need to contribute their gifts to our community.
This week we need to reach out to Senator Berger and convince him that supporting this legislation is good for all of us. Call his office. Write letters. Use these talking points from the Raise the Age Coalition.
For more information about why we must raise the age see these two articles: