Friday, September 24, 2021


New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.


The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Should Kids 12 and Under Be Brought Before a Judge?


Monday, March 1, 2021   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky kids as young as five or six can legally end up in juvenile court because the state currently lacks a minimum age threshold, but new legislation would ban kids 12 and younger from being tried before a judge and prioritize community-based, age-appropriate solutions.

More than 2,000 children younger than 10 were arrested in 2019 nationwide, according to data from the National Juvenile Justice Network.

In states without minimum age thresholds, elementary school-age kids have been arrested for throwing temper tantrums, throwing a ball at another child's face, and refusing to go to the principal's office.

Cortney Downs, policy and advocacy director for Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the statistics are disturbing, given the science shows kids should not be treated like adults.

She noted the latest data revealed hundreds of complaints against kids in the Commonwealth.

"And so, in 2019, there were actually 691 complaints that were filed against 12-year-olds," Downs observed. "Anyone can file a complaint against a child, for any reason."

Downs pointed out of those cases only around 1% were serious offenses that went to court. She added despite making up only 11% of the population of 12-year-olds in the state, Black youths are disproportionately affected, making up 20% of the complaints.

Rachel Bingham, executive officer for family and juvenile services at the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, said the state is already adopting a case-management approach with the goal of better outcomes for both kids and families.

"For this particular age group, our goal is to get them resources," Bingham explained. "To get the family resources, to get the family connected to supports that they need, and to be able to identify any types of things that are barriers for them."

Downs argued kids need age-appropriate interventions that address the root causes of a child's behavior, not criminal punishment. She clarified while the brain's reward system develops early in adolescence, cognitive control isn't cemented until early adulthood.

"We know that kids who are 10 to 13 are much less likely to think before they act," Downs contended. "They want immediate reward, and that's just how the brain is wired."

Research has shown locking young children up can derail academic performance and disrupt cognitive and emotional development. Detention also increases a child's chances of having future encounters with the juvenile justice system.

Disclosure: Kentucky Youth Advocates/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …

Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …

Geothermal energy is produced by drilling deep into the earth's bedrock, pumping in water, and using the resulting steam to generate power. (Utah FORGE)


SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …

Arkansas farmers produce more than 9 billion pounds of rice each year. (Adobe Stock)


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- A New Mexico legislator is optimistic a bill will pass in the 2022 session to prohibit life sentences for juveniles convicted of …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021