Study Panel Urges NC Lawmakers To Raise Prison Age

A task force on juvenile crime says North Carolina should raise the age at which juveniles who commit minor crime are sentenced to adult prisons from 16 to 18.

The panel created by the General Assembly in 2009 said in its final report Friday that only New York still prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as if they were adults.

One defense attorney we talked with from Greenville, Jeffrey Foster, thinks each case should be treated on an individual basis and several factors should be considered when a young person commits a crime. Foster says, "You're looking at a lot of factors that basically affect both the juvenile and the community...what is the cost to send a child to prison, verses the cost of keeping them in the community if they are going to engage in these kind of crimes."

The Youth Accountability Task Force's report says making the change would cost taxpayers about $50 million a year. The report says society would benefit in the long run if law-abiding adults weren't held back in job prospects by a stupid mistake they made while teens.

A task force co-chair says its unlikely the recommendations will see action this year as the General Assembly copes with a $3-billion-plus budget hole.

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  • by Anon on Jan 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM
    Well, it will make it easy for the police to tell who's "holding". Look for the one who doesn't need to shave yet.
  • by input on Jan 15, 2011 at 04:06 PM
    i agree with separating the young criminals from the older ones--we all know what those young kids are going to be to their older cellmate, okay! i think the worse we treat criminals in prison, the more they will either turn into or continue to be animals. if you treat them like human beings, they will be human beings--i think when someone commits murder, rape, kidnapping, etc.. that it should be life and that means LIFE. the most ive heard, prison workers speak of gangs like they are a fact of life and are unwilling to do anything about it--i say if you can strip search and x ray people flying on airplanes, you can do something about it!!!!
  • by jonesy Location: earth,usa on Jan 15, 2011 at 08:11 AM
    sheriff joe arpaio has the method we all should employ. Make the prison experience awful so that no customer wants to return, and thus obeys the law! Bad food in sparce quantities, so they come out scrawny, not able to take on three cops. Bad movies-if any. No visitors, so drugs are kept out. No mail. No medical care beyond first aid for prison fight injuries. A criminal is a criminal- enough of the brainless garbage the well it is only a child - if the child is a criminal, lock it out of society. Separate the young crims from the big crims perhaps,as really all the crims should be kept separate from the others anyway. The bit with gangleaders running gangs from inside is outrageous.
  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on Jan 15, 2011 at 08:04 AM
    At 16, you know what you are doing and what the consequences are. I say reduce it to 14.
  • by 250 Location: Onslow on Jan 15, 2011 at 06:03 AM
    Well put Occifer 1: The justice system is just not the "deterant it once was! I am curious as to whose and how many $$$ this panel absorbed through the course of their "study"?
  • by Stan Location: G'ville on Jan 15, 2011 at 04:47 AM
    Gangs would take advantage of this law to pressure the younger members to committ their robberies.
  • by Stupid Hippies Location: ENC on Jan 15, 2011 at 04:38 AM
    Yes! This is a great idea! Let's make it even easier for gangs to destroy communities! In fact, why don't we just stop prosecuting people for crimes altogether. Then everyone can do whatever they want, and the only price we'll have to pay is chaos in the streets! What a bunch of morons. I like Bruce the Shark's idea of lowering the age of prosecution to 14 (or even lower - why should someone get a pass for doing something horrible because they're a year under the limit). The direction we need to go is one that fights crime. These kids need to understand that they don't get a pass to be a little monster because they're under a certain age.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 15, 2011 at 04:07 AM
    i agree with officer 1
  • by Anonymous on Jan 15, 2011 at 04:06 AM
    How many $ did this panel absorb? Kids went to Heii when the paddle left the principals office. If they want to raise the age. I am cool but; the juveniles have no deterant. Parents sure aren't anymore! 12-18 put them into work camps. Make their prison time a deterant. No cable, no pcs, no libraries, no gym yards, etc. Sunrise-sunset work details. There's alot of ditch lines in NC. 5 years in "should" be a wake up as to "WOW" I sure won't steal CDs again from Walmart. ALSO NOTE: (any age) if they take a life they give up theirs.If a 15 yr old pulls a trigger on a gang member and it's is tried and ruled murder. It goes death sentence... I raised 3. None in any type trouble. There is plenty for a parent to do to keep kids outta trouble. Yeah, we stayed tired, but us being tired kept us out of trouble also. We did not have time to club. Parents need to make more commitment to their offspring. Deterants in the justice system will as Mc Gruff says, "take a bite out of crime"!
  • by Mason Is Right on Jan 15, 2011 at 03:24 AM
    By age 16, most young men face a life decision. Get a job and help support "the system" while trying to make ends meet...or instead, commit a crime (or two) and go to jail. No job worries, no bills, no need for a car or insurance, room & board paid, three meals a day, etc. no responsibility except staying alive. It's the easy way out. Many of these youths break as many laws as the can before they are forced (by age) to go to prison. Prison has become a culture in of itself. The member of this culture represent lawlessness, chaos and breed ignorance and pestilence. We need to put a stop to it right now before the prison systems facilities become larger than some small towns. "Nip It In The Bud!"
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