Justice Fellowship Supports North Carolina’s New “Raise the Age” Bill
"North Carolina's current 'one-size-fits-all' policy for 16- and 17- year-olds is dangerous for everyone. We're unnecessarily exposing low-level teens to the influence of hardened criminals," said Justice Fellowship President Craig DeRoche
Justice Fellowship today announced support for a new bill filed in the North Carolina House. House Bill 725, The Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act, would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina to include 16- and 17-year-olds. North Carolina remains one of only two states that automatically prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when they commit misdemeanors.
Justice Fellowship President Craig DeRoche and Senior Policy Advisor Heather Rice-Minus, Esq., will lead Justice Fellowship's efforts to lobby legislators and raise national awareness about this bill. DeRoche and Rice-Minus will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, on Wednesday, April 17, for a press conference with Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake). That press conference is scheduled for 1:30 pm/General Assembly Media-Press Room in Raleigh.
DeRoche and Rice-Minus will explain why the bill, dubbed "Raise the Age," reflects Justice Fellowship’s restorative justice framework, which is rooted in biblical principles. For 30 years, Justice Fellowship has advocated for policies that make communities safer, respect victims and transform offenders in the adult justice system and is pleased to be expanding its advocacy to include juvenile justice issues.
"When we permanently engrave childhood errors on every teen's record, we remove the incentive for kids who commit low-level offenses to learn from their mistakes and punishment," said DeRoche. "Low-level 16- and 17-year-olds are better handled in the juvenile justice system where families, churches, and communities - the societal structures most likely to put kids on the right path - can be more directly involved."
"North Carolina's current 'one-size-fits-all' policy for 16- and 17-year-olds is dangerous for everyone. We’re unnecessarily exposing low-level teens to the influence of hardened criminals," DeRoche added.
Justice Fellowship joins a long and still-growing list of legislators, criminal justice professionals, victims, and youthful offenders who believe this proposed legislation will benefit society as a whole.
Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) will be joined by Justice Fellowship President Craig DeRoche and Senior Policy Advisor Heather Rice-Minus, Esq.
Press conference to discuss House Bill 725, The Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act
North Carolina General Assembly
Press Conference Room, Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Wednesday, April 17, at 1:30 p.m.