New State Law Increases Protections for Undocumented Youth
State juvenile courts with delinquency jurisdiction handle cases in which juveniles are accused of acts that would be crimes if adults committed them. In 41 states, the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is age 17. Seven states draw the juvenile/adult line at 16 and two states set it at 15. In these two states, 16- and 17-year olds are automatically tried in the adult system.
Solitary confinement, or “seclusion,” is the most extreme form of isolation in a detention setting and can include physical and social isolation in a cell for 22 to 24 hours per day. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says solitary confinement of juveniles can lead to depression, anxiety and even psychosis. In recent years, seven states have passed laws that limit or prohibit the use of solitary confinement for youth in detention facilities. For example, Connecticut law states that no child at any time shall be held in solitary confinement, but “seclusion” may be used periodically if authorized and the young person is checked every thirty minutes.
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18
- Guarantee juveniles the right to counsel regardless of parents income and assets similar to 11 other US states
- Abolish court fees for delinquent youth similar to New Orleans
Code – Family Code
Chapter 51 – General Provisions
Section 51.02 – Definitions