prisoners_prison_fenceRALEIGH—A handful of state lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation Tuesday to “raise the age” of juvenile jurisdiction, an issue that’s gotten more attention in recent years.

North Carolina is currently one of two states that automatically prosecutes 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds as adults. The proposal would change that so when it comes to misdemeanor offenses, the offenders would be handled in the juvenile system.

An organization called NC Child is standing behind the legislation. It says under current law, offenders at the age of 16 and 17 can be prosecuted as adults even for low-level offenses like stealing a bag of chips.

Representatives with the organization believes the legislation would have a big impact statewide—from making communities safer, to saving taxpayers money, and ultimately improving the outcomes for children.

Lawmakers from both political parties are standing behind thi, including a retired New Bern police chief.