Written by Cory Vaillancourt
A juvenile justice system already stressed to the limit is about to be stretched even further, thanks to a change in state law that will increase caseloads as well as the need for youth diversionary programs. And although this coming change has been on the radar for some time now, there’s still no clear signs on who’s going to pay for it, how or when.
It’s called the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly with broad bipartisan support in 2017.
What it does is increase the age of juvenile jurisdiction — except for certain felonies — by changing the definition of “delinquent juvenile” from someone younger than 16 years of age to someone younger than 18 years of age.
Beginning Dec. 1, 2019, those who are aged 16 or 17 years old when they commit crimes will now be handled though the juvenile, rather than the adult justice system.