This year, North Carolina appears poised to do something that every other state in the country has already done, raise the minimum age for juveniles to be charged as adults to 18 years old. It’s currently as young as 16 in our state.
The legislation passed overwhelmingly in the House last month and is making its way through Raleigh with more groups supporting it this year. The time has come to get this done.
While there are many arguments for or against how to handle people who are accused of committing crimes, I think the vast majority of us will concede that we didn’t always make the right decisions as teenagers. In North Carolina, a dumb decision at 16 or 17 can negatively impact a life far into the future. And by the time these young men and women figure that out, it might be too late.
This isn’t about giving people a pass. They’d still be handled through the juvenile justice system. But maybe, just maybe, they’d get a better shot at a second chance if we at least treat them in the same manner as all the other states in America.
That’s my turn. Now it’s your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Emailed comments from viewers:
I totally support this being passed into law . It should have been done years ago. I have a son who just turned 20 and has spent the last 3.5 years of his life behind bars. Yes , he should have to deal with the consequences of his choices but should never have been sentenced to prison . He actually needed help for substance abuse, but instead of finding the help for him he was thrown away as a young man who hasn't a clue about life . The option for a second chance will never be his. He can only pray that when he's released that he can have any type of opportunity to be a successful citizen. Let's face it society already has a label for him. Thanks for letting me share.
Seems that with adult age and responsibility at so many different ages, it's really difficult for kids to have a consistently adult point in their lives. At 14&1/2 they can take a car on the road for drivers Ed and have 'control' of it. At 16 some are expected to get a job. At 16 can drive but can not take a trip and get a hotel room until 21. At 18 can register for the military and 'join' the military. Can vote at 18 but not recognized as an adult until 21. If a child is not considered an adult until 21 they should not be tried as an adult until 21. Most of the time kids can't even make intelligent decisions until 21 or older. I know some people who can't make intelligent decisions at 31!
Thank you for your segment on raising the age to 18 for kids. Kids can turn their life around if given the chance and the right people in their lives.My families living proof because that's what happened to my nephew he was given another chance what a different kid, he is in college and doing fantastic
I believe that the little offenses should be handled in juvenile court but personally, I don't believe that someone who rapes a woman or child, or commits a crime like murder deserves a second chance.
I agree the age should maybe raised for some offenses. However it completely depends on a couple of points, What is the offense? Is it shop lifting or murder? Is it arsen or a traffic violation. If a juvenile commits a capital offense then they should face the punishment.
Next, is it the first offense or are they repeat offenders???
These have to be addressed