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To the editor:
House Bill 725 will raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for misdemeanants. North Carolina is one of only two states that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, even for something as minor as stealing a bag of Doritos.
North Carolina’s current practice of automatically placing all juveniles older than 15 in adult court — no matter how minor the offense — is bad policy. It exposes young people to harmful influences and saddles them with an adult criminal record that makes it harder to set their lives right through employment and education.
Instead, North Carolina should join 48 other states and “Raise the Age” for misdemeanants. This smart-on-crime reform will save millions of dollars, help keep our families intact and produce better outcomes for our children and communities.
House Bill 725 has passed through the House, but is stalled in the Senate. We need you to contact your senators, encouraging them to support HB 725. Thank you on behalf of the next generation.
The Rev. Donna Phelps
Building Hope Ministries/Brunswick County Streetreach, Supply