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April 12, 2021

Setting a US National Minimum Age for Juvenile Justice Jurisdiction

Author Affiliations
  • 1Yale National Clinician Scholars Program, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Department of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(7):665-666. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0244

In February 2020, video of Kaia, a Black 6-year-old child being arrested for a temper tantrum at her school in Orlando, Florida, emerged on social media.1 Footage shows her crying out for help as officers place zip ties on her wrists and remove her from school. Although Kaia’s charges were eventually dropped, the outrage surrounding her case prompted policy makers to advocate for setting a minimum age of juvenile justice jurisdiction in Florida. Without a minimum age law, children of any age can be arrested, charged with a juvenile violation, and potentially incarcerated. The Florida law did not pass, but it did bring attention to the need for minimum age laws.

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