North Carolina, like many other states around the country, is looking for ways to trim and balance the state budget. One possibility that would help to balance the budget is to cut juvenile court resources by millions of dollars.
North Carolina’s Senate proposed a $15 million cut from the juvenile court system. The proposal would result in the elimination of at least 39 juvenile counseling positions and 75 beds at the juvenile detention center. Juveniles charged with sex offenses may also not be allowed to participate in a GPS electronic monitoring program due to a lack of resources to support the program.
Juvenile advocates say that damage to the juvenile court system would be extensive if the cuts are allowed to go through. Justice system advocates argue that these types of serious criminal justice cuts hurt all North Carolina citizens – either residents pay the price now by funding the juvenile justice system or residents pay the price later when juveniles contribute to high crime rates because they weren’t afforded the necessary counseling and treatment.
The state is facing a $2.5 billion budget shortfall in 2011. Supporters of the criminal justice system cuts believe that nearly all aspects of state government are going to feel some sort of money crunch as legislators attempt to close the budget deficit.
There are a variety of resources in the juvenile court system that work to help minors get their life back on track after being charged with a crime in North Carolina. It’s unknown how a large cut like this would affect the juvenile court process and the options for juveniles who are charged with a crime.
Source: WSOC TV “Cuts Could Hinder Efforts of Juvenile Courts,” 5/30/2011