APRIL 02, 2013 / BY LYLA BUGARA TAKE ACTION: North Carolina may send more 13 year olds to adult prison

UPDATE: 4/11/13: Legislators delayed a vote on HB 217 once again after acknowledging the opposition of youth advocates. The vote is expected to be called on April 17 and legislators must continue to hear ours concerns until the bill is defeated.

UPDATE: 4/8/13 A vote on the disastrous HB 217 has been rescheduled for this Wednesday, April 10th. Please continue to call your representatives leading up to this important day and if you are able to attend the hearing please contact The Campaign for Youth Justice.

UPDATE: 4/3/13 Thanks to public pressure, today's expected vote at a committee hearing was delayed and legislators are reconsidering their support. Your voices are powerful—please continue to call your representative so that we may defeat this horrible bill!

North Carolina is the only state that automatically prosecutes 16 and 17 year olds as adults — no matter how minor the crime — and forbids transfers back into the juvenile justice system. The consequences have been devastating. Last May, hundreds of North Carolina ColorOfChange members demanded an end to prosecuting children as adults and supported raising the age from 16 to 18.

Now, a very extreme bill (HB 217) that would send 13 year olds to adult prisons has been introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives. HB 217 eliminates judicial discretion — replacing it with unchecked power for highly politicized prosecutors and is expected to send hundreds more children to adult prisons with little to no consideration for what is in their and the public's overall best interests. Tomorrow (4/3), the House Committee will vote on the bill, and we expect it will be very close.

If you live in North Carolina, your state representative needs to hear from you. Please call your state representative and tell them that North Carolina youth deserve a second chance. It will only take a moment and could make a tremendous difference.