Local News

Governor Seeks Ways to Fight Juvenile Crime

Posted November 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Over the past decade, violent juvenile crime in North Carolina has jumped 172 percent. Now, Governor Jim Hunt is trying to find the best way to reverse that trend. Monday, he held a public hearing to discuss the problems.

Juveniles can be held accountable for their actions in criminal court or they can be shielded from justice by using their age.

The governor and members of his commission on juvenile crime admit they are fighting an uphill battle by trying to come up with specific regulations on how North Carolina should deal with juvenile criminals. They want a proposal together by the end of January. They say they want balanced recommendations that will be tough on juvenile criminals but also want to address prevention.

The group visited the Durham County Youth Center to discuss the problems with workers there. Employees of the Youth Center say the visit was productive, giving the center some long-awaited attention. At the center, many youths wait for trial while some find a home.

Center Director Steven Price says often, a juvenile will want to stay there rather than go back to the life they left.

Superintendent Dr. Ann Denlinger told the commission about a recent incident in which a small child brought a gun to school.

The commission says it has some tough questions to ponder. Other commissions have studied juvenile crime in the past. This one says it is determined to act as well.