With one worried phone call from the mother of a 16-year-old boy, the modern movement that brought raise the age to North Carolina began, drawing legislators, activists, lawyers, parents and kids into a battle that lasted more than 13 years before the state passed its RTA bill in summer 2017.
Just three months after raise the age took effect on Dec. 1 in North Carolina, early numbers seem to reflect a gentle transition from prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult system to prosecuting them in the juvenile system.
The alleged involvement of 13- and 14-year-olds in the senseless murder of a young college student in New York City last month is a heartbreaking reminder that, despite a decade of monumental youth justice reforms, much work remains to help and heal our most troubled children.
In 1978, a 15-year-old boy named Willie Bosket shot and killed two men in separate incidents, both of which involved robberies. Bosket pleaded guilty to both murders and was sentenced to five years in prison, the longest sentence allowed under state law at the time.
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.
When the moderator informally polled the audience at a criminal justice discussion held at the New York Law School on whether probation and parole should be abolished, almost half the audience — mostly criminal justice practitioners and stakeholders — raised their hands.
Four days after New York’s new Raise the Age law began to be implemented in October, I was fortunate to be invited to observe the Youthpart in Brooklyn. The Youthpart is a hybrid court that was created to address 16- and 17-year-olds charged with felonies.