North Carolina is one of only two states—the other being New York—where individuals aged 16 and older are tried in the adult criminal justice system. In 2009, the State’s general assembly established the Youth Accountability Planning Task Force to determine whether the state should raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16- and 17-year-olds.

CBAU conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the task force’s policy proposal. Working closely with the System Costs Work Group, a subgroup of the task force, the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, and the state’s justice and public safety agencies, CBAU ensured that the study incorporated data and reflected processes that are specific to North Carolina, while also drawing upon national research and best practices in juvenile justice. CBAU delivered the analysis in January 2011, before the task force presented its full recommendations to the general assembly.

Why This Work Matters

Adding more teenagers to the juvenile justice system would be costly, as the juvenile justice system costs more to administer than the adult criminal justice system. But in examining the economic pros and cons of raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction or other policy changes, decision makers need more information than what’s provided in fiscal notes. To generate a broader picture of the net social benefits of this policy proposal, Vera’s analysis looked at the costs and benefits from the perspective of government agencies and also that of victims and of the young people who would be affected by the change in law.

For more information, contact senior policy analyst Christian Henrichson.