JJAC [North Carolina] Offered Steadfast Guidance Through Raise the Age Reforms

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North Carolina Department of Public Safety on 1/13/2023 by Matt Debnam

In 2017, when North Carolina joined a growing number of states in raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16- and 17-year-olds, the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention entered new territory. From the outset, it was clear that Raise the Age would have profound impacts, not just for the youth of our state, but for the state’s criminal justice system as a whole.

To help implement these far-reaching reforms, the General Assembly called upon some of North Carolina’s leading minds in the field of criminal justice. The members of this Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee represented an array of disciplines – from prosecutors and public defenders to law enforcement officers and court administrators.

Together, they were charged with planning the implementation of Raise the Age and making legislative and fiscal recommendations to the General Assembly. On Dec. 9, 2022, the committee completed its five-year mission, approving its final report to the General Assembly.

“I think that this opportunity we’ve had to bring all these different disciplines together to make formal recommendations has made a difference,” said JJAC Co-Chair and retired JJDP Chief Court Counselor Bill Davis. “(Raise the Age) is something that has been a long time coming for the state of North Carolina, and I think we’ve been able to learn from other states and handle this transition successfully.”