CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — With Raise the Age taking effect in less than a month, North Carolina is preparing to receive new 16- and 17-year-old offenders into the juvenile system.
The state has not increased its juvenile age since 1919. Revamping juvenile justice has been in discussion since the 1990s, but the legislature sidestepped raising the age. The reform passed two years ago. So what about North Carolina circa 2017 led to the passage of raise the age? Recent research on juvenile crime gave the legislation factual legitimacy, while pressure from being the only state to still prosecute 16- and 16-year-olds as adults gave the bill political momentum.
Some credit goes to former state Chief Justice Mark Martin.