On April 13, 2018 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law S.2371 & H.4012 or An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform. The new law makes several sweeping changes to criminal justice laws in Massachusetts.
This post discusses one aspect of the new law: incarcerating juveniles.
Do parents need to be notified of a juvenile's arrest?
Section 27 of the new law discusses notifying police when a juvenile is arrested.
The chief of police of the community in which a public school is located, in consultation with the school superintendent, will be required to establish standard operating procedures (SOP) to provide guidance to school resource officers (SROs) about daily operation, policies, and procedures. At a minimum, the SOP, must describe, among other things, the following for the SRO:
- A statement and description of students’ legal rights
- Information sharing procedure between the SRO, school staff, and parents or guardians
Whenever police arrest a 12-18 child the office in charge must notify:
- At least one of the child’s parents
- The guardian or custodian with whom the child resides
- The department of children and families
When the officer in charge of the police station or town lockup accepts the promise of one of the above notified to be responsible for the presence of the child in court at the time and place when the child is ordered to appear, the child must then be released to the person making this promise.
A child between the ages of 14 and 18 may be detained if the court issuing a warrant for the arrest of the child directs in the warrant that the child must be held in safekeeping pending the child’s appearance in court. The child must be detained in a police station, town lockup, or a place of temporary custody known as a detention home, approved by the department of youth services. The person responsible for the child must be notified of any detentions.
Can juveniles be incarcerated with adults?
Section 80 states that the department of correction cannot place in a detention facility any juvenile who has:
- Charged with or committed an offense not otherwise criminal if committed by an adult
- Not charged with any offense
- Alleged dependent on the court, neglected, or abused
Moreover, the department of correction cannot detain any delinquent juvenile in any institution in which they contact adult inmates.
Also, the provision of the law also requires that individuals employed by the department of correction who work with both juveniles and adult inmates trained and certified.
Is involuntary room confinement allowed?
According to Section 82, no. A person committed to the department of youth services cannot stay in involuntary room confinement as a punishment.
Has the age of criminal adulthood been raised?
Per Section 1, the new law does NOT raise the “age of criminal majority” or age of criminal adulthood to 19. It remains at 18 years old.
Where do children go when law enforcement take them into custody?
All detained children between 14 and 18 years old are in approved facilities. The department must make at least annual inspections of these facilities. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 cannot be detained in a jail or house of correction.
Children arrested are under the responsibility of the department of children and families. The on-call worker must notify the social worker assigned to the child’s case and must make arrangements as soon a possible for the release of the child if the arrest warrant does not order mandatory detention.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.