Letters to the Editor, June 13

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 02:48 PM

Bipartisan, common-sense policy

The N.C. House demonstrated that it can work in a bipartisan manner to benefit communities across our state when it voted 77-39 to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction. Our organization joined a diverse team of groups including NC Child and Justice Fellowship that worked together to encourage legislators of all stripes to back the bill.

The result is the kind of common-sense reform of which all North Carolinians can be proud. Currently, North Carolina is one of only two states that automatically handle 16 and 17-year-old misdemeanants in the adult justice system. This is bad policy. Kids prosecuted as adults for low-level offenses have trouble finding jobs and getting into college, and are more likely to get into additional trouble. The juvenile system is more attuned to both firmly teaching kids a lesson and getting them back on track.

Under this common-sense reform, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanors would no longer be treated 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’ successful return to the mainstream.

“Raising the Age” will generate $97.9 million in long-term benefits among 16-and 17-year-olds arrested during a given 12-month period.

Legislators from the speaker of the house to house minority leader Rep. Larry Hall  and Reps. Micky Michaux, Paul Luebke and Graig Meyer supported this smart-on-crime change  and set an example for their colleagues in the Senate. I applaud them!

Lao Rubert

Durham

Director, Carolina Justice Policy Center

Information not truthful

I am a biostatistician who worked for the U.S.  Environmental Protection Associaton for 29 years.  My name is on over 100 peer-reviewed biological research papers.  A biostatistician is an expert in the methodology used in scientific papers.  Our job is to ensure that proper methods are used so that conclusions drawn from research projects
are scientifically valid.  
In the Leonard Pitts column "While our planet melts, GOP pleads ignorance" (June 7) the often-repeated statement "... that finding is accepted by 97 percent of climate scientists" was made.  The statement is totally untrue and there is no way it can be made.  The methodology used was seriously flawed.   How it got published is beyond me except to point out that I know from much experience that because an article is in a recognized scientific publication does not mean it has valid information.  In fact, most published articles are not adequately reviewed.
I think it is very important to have truthful information in order to solve problems correctly.  Mr. Pitts is not giving us that.

Dennis House
Chapel Hill

Helping inmates’ children

Sunday is Father's Day. Children proudly present homemade cards with a hug and “I love you Dad!” We smile at the havoc in the kitchen after the kids lovingly make breakfast for daddy. Similar scenes played out last month as families celebrated Mother's Day.

But what are these special days like for children dealing with parental incarceration? It is estimated that there are 2.7 million children nationwide with a mom or dad in prison, and 24,000 in North Carolina.

Our Children’s Place is a non-profit agency dedicated to supporting these children by raising awareness about their numbers and needs, and by working with diverse partners to ensure they receive beneficial services.

It is our belief that with community support these children can remain connected with their parents, when appropriate, and grow to lead productive lives.  We are also hopeful that community efforts can help to reduce the risk that these children become involved in the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism for their parents.

As you celebrate Sunday, think about the children facing so many special days apart from their parents and consider joining us in support of these families. To find out what you can do, go to www.ourchildrensplace.com.

Rhonda Angerio, board chair, Our Children’s Place
Sabrina Bristo, board member

This letter was also signed by two other board members