(WBTV) - The North Carolina Senate Wednesday passed House Bill 1001, which funds implementation of Raise the Age, an initiative to keep non-violent juvenile offenders out of adult criminal court.
On Dec. 1, 2019, North Carolina will become the final state to implement “Raise the Age” legislation. It will make it where the criminal justice system treats 16 and 17-year-olds as juveniles for a majority of the crimes that are committed.
Under the Raise the Age law, juveniles can apply for college without a felony on their record, become eligible for student loans, and apply for public housing. However, the new law could double the amount of juveniles in the court system, requiring more resources to manage local youth.
The concern from some advocates had been the potential funding for the roll out of a system change like this one.
“Kids are our most important asset. If we do not invest in them or the programs that meet those needs, we will pay for it many years after in a negative sort of way,” said Frank Crawford with Children’s Alliance. “There has to be a good number of community resources and groups out there that will be needed to help kids.”
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee that the legislature put into place said the cost to fund this new law is estimated to be around $60 million.