Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a budget , sent to him by the Republican controlled legislature, despite knowing his veto would likely be overridden. Cooper felt that the budget did not do enough for educators or to protect the environment and was too generous to corporations and the wealthy. But, for people who care about criminal justice reform, this budget presented other important shortfalls. One important area this budget fails to fully address is juvenile justice and funding raise the age.
Raise The Age: General Assembly budget did fund two important part of Raise The Age: additional juvenile court counselors and construction for a new juvenile facility. Many other necessary components to successfully implementing Raise the Age were ignored.
Specifically, for the children of North Carolina to truly benefit from raising the juvenile age, our General Assembly must provide funding for Juvenile Crime Prevention Council programs. According to William L. Lassiter, Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, these programs establish court ordered sanctions and services for juveniles including victim restitution, restorative justice, court-ordered mediation, community service counseling programs and vocational skill development.
Other important components to Raise The Age that were not properly funded are:
- community-based residential contracts
- transportation drivers and additional vans
- the Administrative Office of the Courts for additional ADAs, legal assistants, District Court Judges and Deputy Clerks.
- the Office of the Juvenile Defender
Carolina Justice Policy Center is proud of the work we did to help get the Raise The Age legislation passed, but there is so much more work to be done. Please, consider calling your legislators and reminding them that raising the juvenile age means nothing without proper funding!