No young child in Florida or anywhere else should be treated as an adult. However, some states allows children as young as 6 to be arrested for crimes. Advocates are pushing to change those laws.
Children suffering unnecessary trauma
In 2019, a 6-year-old in Florida was manhandled by police after being arrested after having a temper tantrum. A video was shot of the incident, which saw the little girl being handcuffed with zip ties as she cried and begged. The video was viewed online by many people who expressed outrage.
According to the child’s grandmother, the girl still experiences PTSD and anxiety and is in therapy. The response from people who viewed the video of her arrest led to changes in the law. Now, no child younger than 7 years old can be arrested for a juvenile crime unless that crime is a violent felony.
Advocates want the age to be raised
Although some advocates see the minimum age of children who could be arrested for juvenile crimes raised to 7 as a start, they say that it’s not good enough. Instead, they want to see the minimum age raised to at least 12. Most states’ minimum age of arrest is 10. One state has 13 as its minimum. A representative from that state said that younger children between the ages of 6 and 9 need to be shielded from the system. Previously a judge in the juvenile court, she pushed for the minimum age of arrest to be increased to 10.
Finding kids help instead of arrests
One prosecutor stated that he supports having fewer children in the juvenile crime system and finding them help instead. He believes that kids need therapy instead of jail and advocates for creating programs that offer services to help.
If your child was arrested and traumatized, you will want to do all you can to protect their rights.