Juvenile Crime

Image of three growingchange.org participants harvesting food.
Noran Sanford

Cody Oxendine grew up in a small town in North Carolina dominated by gangs. He joined a gang at a young age and his activities landed him in juvenile court for two counts of simple assault. Three years ago, he was on probation and doing everything in his power to avoid prison. Now, 18-year-old Cody is thrilled to spend a lot of his time at one particular prison.

Oxendine is part of a group of youth leading an effort to flip an abandoned prison in Wagram, North Carolina into a sustainable farm.

Criminal's episode art is by Julienne Alexander
Julienne Alexander

Criminal is a new podcast that's gaining some buzz. In August, the Huffington Post called it the Best New Radio Show In America. A couple of months later, it was included in Buzzfeed's list of "12 Podcasts That Will Make You A Better Human."

Teen Suicide
www.teensuicideprevention.org

About 900 people are expected to attend the National Symposium on Juvenile Services this week in Greensboro.  The five-day event includes panel discussions, trainings on youth development strategies and research presentations to better understand brain development in adolescents.

Seminar topics include:

Gun Free Zone
NC-ACE

Back in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to take on what some have called an "epidemic" of youth violence.

One of the initiatives was the Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, or NC-ACE. The program focused on Robeson County which, at the time, had the highest levels of youth violence in the state. NC-ACE is now entering the final year of its efforts, with some of the programs scheduled to wrap up at the end of the summer.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday, in the state House, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors to be referred to the juvenile justice system, rather than trying them as adults. The measure has been a long time coming.

The so-called “Raise the Age” bill passed 77 to 39 with broad bipartisan support. Republican representative Marilyn Avila of Wake County is the bill’s main sponsor.

North Carolina House of Representatives, North Carolina General Assembly
www.ncleg.net

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would raise the age at which North Carolina teens can be charged as adults. North Carolina is one of only two states that still treat 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults. Republican representative Marilyn Avila is a sponsor of the bill.

"This bill is one that I feel like North Carolina needs to consider because we’re one of only two states who do not have our 16 and 17-year-old juvenile delinquents placed in the juvenile justice system. They go into the adult system," said Avila.

Photo: Death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in North Carolina since 2006.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court will consider whether or not to allow parole for criminals charged with life sentences as juveniles before 2012.

The case is a response to the 2012 Miller v. Alabama decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional. The hearing in North Carolina is to determine whether or not to apply that decision retroactively.