N.C Rep. Duane Hall is a Democrat, but he nevertheless believes a bill he has supported for years finally has a chance to pass the Republican-controlled General Assembly this year.
North Carolina is one of only two states that treat every 16- and 17-year-old criminal offender as an adult, instead of placing them in the juvenile justice system. Hall wants to change the law so that only teens under the age of 18 who commit especially serious, violent crimes go to adult prisons.
He won the support of the N.C. Courts Commission last month and says he plans to file the bill soon, with a Republican co-sponsor to highlight its bipartisan support. But one thing he told the Courts Commission caught the eye of PolitiFact NC, which researched Hall’s claim for a fact-check.
“One of the objections to the bills I had was, obviously, cost,” Hall said. “But all the studies and all other states have shown that juvenile systems save states literally tens of millions of dollars.”
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After looking into studies into North Carolina’s potential finances if such a bill were to pass, as well as studies from other states that either have already made this change or are looking into it themselves, PolitiFact ruled Hall’s claim Mostly True.
Read the full fact-check to see what kind of savings North Carolina might be able to realize with juvenile justice reform – and what details Hall’s claim left out that kept his claim from being deemed totally accurate.
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PolitiFact North Carolina
Speaker: Rep. Duane Hall
Statement: Says North Carolina could save “literally tens of millions of dollars” if it stopped prosecuting 16-year-olds as adults.
Ruling: Hall is right that other states have seen savings and that North Carolina could, too. However, those savings can take several years to come to fruition. In the short-term, there will be cost increases – at least to state government. We rate this claim Mostly True.