At least four times last year, 5-year-old children in Kentucky faced charges for alleged criminal mischief, harassment, abuse of a teacher and criminal trespassing, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. In all, 2,117 criminal charges have been filed against children 10 and younger in Kentucky since 2006. It's a number that shocked Rep. John Tilley, chairman of the state House Judiciary Committee, who plans to hold hearings.Unlike 16 other states, Kentucky puts no limits on the age at which a child may be charged. Kentucky prohibits placing children 10 and younger in a juvenile detention facility unless they are charged with a capital offense or one of the more serious felony charges. Children may be placed in state foster care while charges against them are pending. Patrick Yewell, who heads the Department of Family and Juvenile Services for the Administrative Office of the Courts, will ask legislators to enact a minimum age for criminal charges. "The earlier a child enters the juvenile justice system, the more likely he or she is to acquire an extensive juvenile record," Yewell said. "Children in this age range have specific needs that may require interventions from early childhood specialists, social workers and mental health professionals."
TCR at a Glance
July 31, 2015
It may take years to prove their innocence, but Conviction Integrity Units are increasingly being used around the country by DAs determin...
new & notable July 30, 2015
Despite a spike in 2010 and 2011, white collar prosecutions have steadily dropped since 1994, according to a Syracuse University report
new & notable July 29, 2015
A paper in the National Institute of Justice Journal examines issues surrounding research that involves victims of intimate partner violence
new & notable July 28, 2015
A new study finds that civil legal assistance for victims of domestic violence can have significant economic and social benefits
q & a July 27, 2015
A new book puts a human face on some 1,000 lynching victims—854 of them were African American—and raises contemporary questio...
July 24, 2015
Nearly a third of the state’s 87,756 inmates have mental health issues. Most would be unable to find the care they need elsewhere, ...
July 23, 2015
The death of a San Francisco woman has cast a spotlight on communities who resist ICE detention orders.