In 2017, our legislators wisely passed perhaps the most important legislation affecting N.C.’s juvenile court system in over 100 years. The “Raise the Age” legislation raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18, ending North Carolina’s distinction of being the very last state in the nation to automatically treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in court.
This legislation creates a level playing field for North Carolina’s youth, acknowledging that mounds of research clearly show that when treated as juveniles, 16- and 17-year-olds fare much better long term. This research shows in part that 16- and 17-year-olds who are treated in juvenile courts do not re-offend as often as do their peers who are handled in the adult court system. Thank you to legislators for doing this to benefit our youngest citizens.