Legal Update: Raise the Age?

The John Locke Foundation has advocated raising the age for juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina for a panoply of reasons, among which include: sexual assault against minors in adult prisons, an increased suicide rate among youths incarcerated with adults, and an overall failure to deter recidivism. This research update analyzes the North Carolina juvenile justice system within the context of comparative policies in other states and concludes that the age should be raised from seventeen to eighteen. It also cited research conducted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation which found that adult jails are no place for teenagers. Placing youngsters in adult jails makes them more likely to be victims of rape or assault, and to commit suicide. They are also likely to learn a lot more about leading a life of crime from the hardened criminals. There is a lot of truth in the notion that jails and prisons are graduate schools of crime. The John Locke Foundation seeks to invoke such research as it lobbies the North Carolina General Assembly for juvenile justice reform.

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