North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

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Casting off the Curse of God: Litigation Versus Legislation and the Educational Rights of Youth in North Carolina's Adult Criminal Justice System

March 28, 2013

91 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 36 (2013)


Realizing that there are potentially dozens of rights one could choose to litigate, this Comment will focus on the one that best compliments the policy arguments in favor of raising the age: the right to education. Raise-the-age supporters often point to lost education as one of the negative consequences of sending youths to prison, arguing that non-educated former offenders have a much more difficult time securing steady, well-compensated employment after their release. Additionally, the right to education is exceedingly viable; it has long been litigated at both the federal and state levels, giving it an undeniable legal pedigree that ensures the judiciary will take it seriously. And while the right to education has been extensively litigated in the public school context, it has not been litigated with regard to prison reform, leaving its contours undefined in this context. Finally, it is a dynamic legal right from a technical perspective, amenable to both equality and adequacy claims and giving reformers multiple avenues to pursue.



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