“Juvenile Justice” is the name given to the juvenile court system in North Carolina, emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration. The idea is that it’s easier to help teenagers before they develop into a life cycle in and out of jail.
But North Carolina has seen a decrease in juvenile crime over the last few years, according to the 2018 annual report from the NC Department of Public Safety.
The latest report from DPS indicates that since 2010, juvenile crime has decreased by 41%.
Additionally, the report states that the number of teens who were destined to a detention center has dropped a whopping 62%.
School-based complaints went from 16,097 in 2010 to 10,453 in 2018, a decrease of 35%. 75% of the complaints were about male students, and 25% were for female students.
Trends for gang affiliations also went down from 8.7% in 2010 to 7.2% in 2018.
In Wake County, the latest available information indicates that for every 1,000 youth, the rate of delinquent complaints against juveniles ages 6 through 15 received by court services offices is 6.7.
In detention center admissions, 81% of admittees were male, and 19% were female. Of those that engaged in Youth Development Center Commitments, just 9% were female, and 91% were male.
Out of 11,136 juveniles, there were a total of 23,580 complaints, many of which can have multiple outcomes. Of those complaints, 16% were closed, 24% were diverted, and 50% were approved for court.
Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) data also shows that out of 21,248 high-risk youths that were served by community-based programs that offered successful alternatives, there was a 21% recidivism of these individuals in a three-year period.
The report also offers success stories on some of the students who participated in the Youth Development Center (YDC) education programs:
- Twenty of the students passed all five sections (Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies) of the HiSet assessment to obtain their high school equivalency diplomas while enrolled in YDC. One student transitioned back to his community to begin job searching and was scheduled to begin attending community college courses in spring 2019.
- Out of a total of 167 HiSet section tests taken, 81% of the students passed the tests, with 30% of test scores at the “College and Career Ready” level. Students enrolled in traditional middle or high school courses earned credit for 88% of classes, and 90% of students were promoted to the next grade level.
- Stonewall Jackson YDC piloted a five-student vocational training program, called C-Tech. Learning skills in copper cabling and telecommunications, all five mastered the material and earned an industry-recognized certification.
- Stonewall Jackson YDC also offered 48 students training through the horticulture and greenhouse operations program. Several worked toward a Master Gardener certification or a certification in greenhouse management.
Raise The Age
A significant factor in the decrease is the Raise The Age campaign, which successfully sought to raise the age of those charged in non-violent adult crimes to 18. Signed into law and implemented on December 1, 2019, the law allowed these teens to stay in out of the adult court system and avoid an adult criminal record.
North Carolina became the last state in the US to implement this change, allowing more 16- and 17-year olds to avoid criminal charges in adult court as an under-age offender for non-violent offenses. While these teenagers will still be held accountable for their actions, they will not have to suffer the lifelong consequences of an adult criminal charge.
Class A to G felonies committed by 16- and 17-year olds will still be transferred to adult court after a notice of indictment or a court that finds probable cause.
However, what has yet to be addressed is the fate of these teenagers who were already in the system when the law took effect.
Call Juvenile Crime Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley
If your child has been charged with a crime, it’s important to find a juvenile court attorney who can investigate and determine your chances at trial and keep your child’s case in the juvenile court system and out of adult criminal court. Alternative sentencing, education, and training and other similar state services may be available in lieu of jail time, but you might not be aware of these options on your own.
Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any criminal charges, major or minor. He will work to ensure a fair trial and that your child’s rights are protected. Call today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.