"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Scott Dempsey.
Did you know that North Carolina will be the only state in the country that prosecutes 16 and 17 year old's as adults for misdemeanors and low-level felonies? We believe anyone charged with serious crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law however we would also like to believe that 16 and 17 year old's who make stupid mistakes shouldn't have to pay for those mistakes for the rest of their lives.
Think about when you were 16 or 17. Maybe you didn't do anything that would have gotten you arrested, but perhaps you just didn't get caught.
The Juvenile system is much better equipped to handle these misdemeanor offenses by 16 and 17 year old's than the Adult justice system. North Carolina's current policy leads to worse outcomes for our youth.
HB 280, the bill that will change this system, is currently working its way through the legislature. We hope it passes so we can give our North Carolina youth a better chance at success.
For more information, go to www.youthjusticenc.org