In the United States, there is no minimum age for federal court jurisdiction, and many states have not established minimum age policies, including Florida. Vitoria de Francisco Lopez It examines the policies of more than 200 Florida law enforcement agencies on arrests involving children and finds that these policies are not effective in reducing the number of juvenile arrests. Looking at examples from other US states and Canada, she believes that clearer and clearer instructions and policies can help reduce children’s participation in the Florida legal system.
In 2019, there were more than 60,000 children aged 12 or younger Arrested or referred to the juvenile justice system in the United States of America. Despite legislative efforts to protect young children from the harmful effects of the justice system, politicians and academics alike continue to ignore minimum age laws. And in Florida, the state’s lack of a minimum age law has made local agencies responsible for guiding officers in their interactions with young children and youth.
The minimum age for court jurisdiction refers to the youngest age at which a child can be held criminally responsible for a crime. Advocates of setting a minimum age for court jurisdiction laws have highlighted various issues related to the inclusion of young children in the justice system. Some of those reasons are that children have limited access to justice, that formal involvement may increase criminality throughout life, and that this deviation may be best addressed outside the justice system.
while the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child It has recommended that the minimum age for the court’s jurisdiction be 14, but the United States has not yet set a national minimum age for the court’s jurisdiction. Although 21 states have established minimum age policies ranging from 6 to 12 years old, states like Florida, which do not have a minimum age law, often adopt different approaches that depend largely on the discretion of the officer.
Clearly, law enforcement officials occupy a unique position in the juvenile justice process because of their discretion. Due to the unique nature of law enforcement decision-making, policies, procedures, and rules have been implemented to control employee discretion. Policy makers and law enforcement officials believe that agency-level policies and regulations are a powerful means of controlling police discretion. However, current research provides little insight into the effectiveness of these policies in controlling discretion and changing police behavior, especially when it comes to arrests involving children.
To better understand the effects of law enforcement policies on arrests involving children in Florida, we examined the policies of law enforcement agencies across Florida. We obtained agency-level policies from 215 Florida law enforcement agencies, serving 95 percent of Florida’s population, as well as reports of arrests for the years between 2016 and 2019. We also examined the effects of law enforcement policies on arrests involving children over time.
Current administrative policies in Florida law enforcement agencies may not be effective in reducing arrests involving children
According to a careful analysis of Florida law enforcement agency policies, the percentage of the population of counties covered by a law enforcement agency that had a policy was not related to county arrests of children 12 years of age or younger. This raises the possibility that administrative measures in place in Florida law enforcement agencies may not be effective in reducing the number of juvenile arrests. Rather than the proposed policies not working, it may be the formulation of the policies themselves. All available child detention policies allow for a great deal of discretion in those decisions. None of the agencies with child detention policies specifically prohibits the arrest of a younger child. Instead, regulations call for approval from supervisors or advise officers to avoid arresting children who have not committed a felony in favor of trying to transfer them from the juvenile court system to community programs. It is conceivable that the language of the rules is the problem, which may explain the lack of a strong relationship between the policies and the detention of young children.
In order to be effective in reducing the number of child arrests, policies regarding child detention must be clear and affordable. Policies may be written to accommodate professional obligations and needs since Florida does not have a minimum age for court jurisdiction. Without state legislation, law enforcement agencies may lack the power to crack down on arrests of younger children.
Less discretionary policies may be needed to reduce child arrest
There is evidence that more restrictive rules and regulations limit officers’ discretion and may have a greater impact on their behaviour. Agencies should give their officials clear policies that restrict their discretion when dealing with children and instructions to help them make decisions about the detention of minors. Youth Criminal Justice Act of Canada One example of such a policy is YCJA.
The YMA provides law enforcement agencies with clear and comprehensive instructions on how to arrest children. Officers and prosecutors are directed by the YCJA to move cases from the juvenile court system to community initiatives. She also made it clear that juvenile courts are not allowed to use adult sentencing guidelines. A previous analysis of the YCJA showed that it had significantly reduced the number of juvenile arrests and/or charges against them. More specifically, explicit and clear instructions have been linked to their effectiveness.
There are also examples of explicit child detention policies within the United States. In 2018, California decided so Children under the age of 12 may not be detained Or be tried for misdemeanor crimes, excluding rape and murder. As a result, California set a minimum age of 12 for the juvenile justice system. This law orders officers to avoid interfering with young children and adolescents and, if necessary, to refer them to school, community, or health services.
Although Louisiana has a minimum age for juvenile court jurisdiction, the language used in New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Policy Manual. It is straightforward and removes any room for officers to use discretion when dealing with younger children. According to the NOPD’s policy manual, the Juvenile Admission Unit “will not accept or treat any child under the age of 10 who is accused of any felony or misdemeanor. Those under the age of 10 are exempt from criminal liability. As a result, law enforcement organizations in the United States who Seek to enact similar policies that use this policy as a model.
Putting state legislation into practice may be the most effective way to reduce children’s participation in the legal system, especially when local law enforcement authorities are unable to limit the arrest of children without state laws. It would be helpful to implement specific and comprehensive minimum age policies by local agencies, as well as to train law enforcement personnel on how best to meet the needs of the children they interact with.