When children go to prison, no one wins. Research shows that prosecuting children in the adult criminal justice system wastes young lives, fosters crime, does not increase public safety, and costs society more in the long run.
Youth charged with a crime should start in the juvenile justice system, with judges retaining their current authority to send minors to the adult system for any felony.
Evidence shows that the juvenile system - with programs tailored to how children think and learn - is more effective at rehabilitating youth. Fewer then go on to commit another crime, which means lower costs to society and more children growing up to become educated, employed citizens.
North Carolina is one of only two states in the nation that still prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. Incarcerated children in North Carolina have no right to rehabilitative programming, mentoring, counseling, or even an education.
Tell North Carolina's leaders that it's time to join the rest of the country. Tell them to throw out this nearly 100-year-old law and put 16- and 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system, where they can be treated, rehabilitated, educated, counseled, and prepared for a successful life.
A person who is less than 18 years of age is considered a juvenile under Colorado law. If charged with a crime, he or she is treated differently than an adult. According to section 19-2-104, C.R.S., the Colorado juvenile justice system and the juvenile court have exclusive original jurisdiction concerning a juvenile 10 years of age or older who violates:
Any federal or state law (except non-felony state traffic, game and fish, and parks and recreation laws or regulations);
Certain laws concerning furnishing cigarrettes or tobacco products to minors;
Certain laws concerning ethyl alcohol and marijuana;
County or municipal ordinances, the penalty of which may be a jail sentence of more than ten days (except traffic ordinances); and
Any court order made pursuant to the provisions of the children's code contained in title 19, C.R.S.
There are, however, certain acts that may warrant the removal of the juvenile's case to district court via either direct file or a transfer. In district court, the juvenile is tried as an adult and,if convicted, may be sentenced as an adult.
Four factors that affect the ability to try a juvenile as an adult include:
The age of the juvenile;
The type of offense charged;
The extent of the juvenile's past history of delinquency; and
Whether the district attorney invokes the district court's original jurisdictionor seeks to transfer a pending juvenile court proceeding to the district court.
As a general rule, the likelihood that a district attorney may file criminal charges against ajuvenile as an adult increases with the age of the juvenile, the severity of the charged offense,and the juvenile's past history of delinquency.
Under Colorado law, the youngest age at which a child may be tried as an adult is 12, if
the child is alleged to have committed a class 1 or 2 felony or a crime of violence and the juvenile court transfers the case to the district court.
(Colorado information provided by A Publication of the Office of Legislative Legal Services:
http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/PDF/WHEN A CHILD CAN BE TRIED AS AN ADULT.pdf )