North Carolina could see many benefits by raising age for teens charged with crimes, Gaston Gazette

May 2011

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Thank you for shining a light on North Carolina’s outmoded system for dealing with teens who commit minor crimes (“When should a teenager be tried as an adult,” Gazette, May 22). Our communities, young people and state coffers would benefit so much from the General Assembly raising the age at which teens are prosecuted for non-violent offenses from 16 to 18.

We’d like to clarify a key point in Michael Barrett’s story. Action for Children NC did not, as reported, put together the task force that found raising the age could save the state millions. The NC Youth Accountability Planning Task Force was established by the North Carolina legislature in 2009, and an independent group, the Vera Institute, conducted its eye-opening cost-benefit analysis.

The task force concluded that “based on an anticipated reduction in recidivism” and “a reduction in the number of crimes that will be avoided,” North Carolina can expect recurring savings of around $50 million annually. This is just one of many reasons for our legislators to raise the age.

Mandy Ableidinger