North Carolina

North Carolina is one of only two states in America that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, regardless of the severity of their crimes. This means a 16-year-old who shoplifts a pack of gum, or a bottle of nail polish or a Coke will be treated as an adult in North Carolina, and saddled with a criminal record for the rest of his or her life.

For youth to be automatically treated as adults, even for minor crimes, is bad policy. Under an important and much needed reform, House Bill 399, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanors would no longer be handled in the adult system. Rather, they would be dealt with in the juvenile system, which insists on appropriate punishment and restitution, while strictly monitoring kids’ progress. Take a few minutes and take stand for NC kids! Encourage your legislators to support HB 399.

Our History of Advocacy in North Carolina




  • 1 in 46 adults in the criminal justice system
  • Taxpayer burden: $29,965 per prisoner per year
  • Adults in prison: 36,922
  • Adults in jail: 19,168
  • Adults on probation: 96,070
  • Adults on Parole: 4,359
  • Rate of juveniles (per 100,000) in residential placement: 74
*Statistics generated from reports by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons 2000-2011; Probation and Parole in the United States (2013); Prisoners in 2013, Vera Institute of Justice (The Price of Prisons), 2010 CensusOffice of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Provention 2011 and various department of corrections' websites.


Join the 2016 "Restorative Punishment:  Think Outside the Bars" campaign. Find out where your state stands on sentencing reform, the use of drug courts, and restorative justice programs. This research and our advocate "how-to" materials can equip you to take action that will advance justice reforms in your state!


Think Outside the Bars


For over 30 years, Prison Fellowship has been active on Capitol Hill, lobbying Congress to support reforms to make communities safer, respect victims, and transform lives. Prison Fellowship played a leading role in working with Members of Congress to pass groundbreaking criminal justice reforms, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (2000), the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2000), Second Chance Act (2008), and the Fair Sentencing Act (2010), among others. Additionally, Prison Fellowship and the Texas Public Policy Foundation co-founded Right on Crime, a growing movement of conservatives committed to justice reform.


Prison Fellowship seeks a restorative approach to punishment where those harmed by crime are allowed to be a part of the process, those who offended are given a chance to make amends, and men and women are not incarcerated for longer than the wrongs committed would warrant.


A restorative approach to crime seeks to do more than warehouse people convicted of crimes. It means holding prisoners accountable to accept responsibility for the harm they have caused to their victims, and to take steps to make amends and rebuild trust with their communities.


Crime doesn't just affect the perpetrators and victims, it also injures the community. A restorative justice approach considers these harms and engages communities in solutions, promoting safety by using proven crime reduction practices while protecting individual liberty.