NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County held a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony today for the new Division of Juvenile Justice building, located at 138 N. Fourth Street in downtown Wilmington.
The new building will officially open on Monday, March 1 and will house juvenile court and support functions, like NC Department of Public Safety court counselors, and several Juvenile Justice, Clerk of Court and Community Justice Services staff.
“The Raise the Age law really pushed this project forward, knowing that we would need a better space to accommodate the increased number of cases in juvenile court,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “Thanks to our collaboration with the court system, we have certainly achieved that. This new building will allow us to better serve our community’s youth through crime prevention and intervention programs, and my hope is that the work of our dedicated team inside and outside these walls will give our youth the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
In December 2019, North Carolina raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction for nonviolent crimes to age 18, so 16- and 17-year-olds are no longer automatically charged as adults, increasing the number of cases heard in juvenile court. Evidence has shown that the juvenile court system has a better outcome for reduced recidivism when compared to teens charged and tried as adults.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Chief District Court Judge J.H. Corpening echoed the importance of partnerships and what this building means, saying: “This project has been a testament to the power of collaboration, because so many people came together across our judicial system, across county government, and in the community to make this a reality. My hope is that this building will be a beacon of hope and healing for the children and families we serve.”
State statute requires counties to provide adequate space for courtrooms and related judicial facilities; and New Hanover County is effectively meeting that obligation with this new three story, 38,875-square-foot building constructed by the county, which will help ensure the juvenile justice system has the space needed for its expanded functions.
Today’s dedication ceremony and a short tour of the building can be viewed here and below: