New York Times — A 7-Year-Old Was Accused of Rape. Is Arresting Him the Answer?

“Science doesn’t support prosecution of second graders,” one lawyer said. Still, in New York, children as young as 7 can be charged with a crime.

by Sarah Maslin Nir
June 3, 2021

… There appears to be little, if any, organized opposition to raising the age of delinquency. But those who resist say doing so would hamstring the legal system, according to Jeffrey A. Butts, the director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center. In rare cases involving a particularly dangerous child, he said, incarceration may prevent them from being a risk to others.

“You’ll always have these cases where you just don’t have the right resources,” Dr. Butts said. “Any red line set by law is a compromise that basically acknowledges we don’t have a legal system that is capable of making complex decisions.”

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An arrest of a child shook tiny Brasher Falls, a hamlet near the Canadian border, and may have restarted a push in the Legislature to change New York’s law. (Credit: Malik Rainey for The New York Times).

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