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Little kids in jail

By Jeff Terrill


Fort Wayne Reader


In Indiana, there is no minimum age for a child to be locked up in a juvenile detention facility.

Jake really is a good kid. He just turned nine and completed the second grade only weeks ago. Jake loves to draw pictures for his family and friends. Jake lives with his mom, her boyfriend and his two siblings Ė an older sister and a younger brother. Jake isnít a real person.

Jakeís mom loves her kids. She tries hard to provide for all of her children. Sometimes she gets frustrated with Jake because he wonít listen to her. She wishes that Jake would get along better with her boyfriend too.

During the Christmas break last year, Jakeís mom called the police after Jake kicked a table causing a lamp to break. She didnít know what else to do. A police officer showed up at Jakeís home and told Jake that he needed to behave. Jake did well for several weeks.

The other day, Jake threw a fit at home. He pushed his sister and then smashed her favorite snow-globes. Jakeís mom yelled at him to calm down. Jake yelled back and locked her out of his room. Jakeís mom demanded that Jake open the door. He refused.

Jakeís mom called 911 and advised that her son was out of control. The dispatch officer asked if Jake hurt anyone. Jakeís mom stated that he did.

Minutes later a police officer arrived. Jake was still screaming inside his room. Jake opened his bedroom door for the officer. He was wearing his favorite Transformers pajamas. Jake told the officer that his mom was mean and that his sister was stupid.

Jakeís mom shouted that the officer was going to take Jake to jail. Jake screamed louder and tried to slam his bedroom door again. The officer stopped the door from shutting and grabbed Jake. Jake yelled and flailed his arms and legs.

The police officer had seen enough. He carried Jake to his squad car. About ten minutes later, Jake arrived at his countyís juvenile detention center. Jake was crying and asking for his mom. He kept telling the officer he was sorry and that he would never do anything bad again.

The detention facility processed Jake and required him to change into its standard brown pants and shirt. Jake cried for an hour after being locked in a room that had only a bed and a toilet. Jake didnít see anyone else that night.

Jake attended a juvenile delinquency hearing the next day. He was transported to and from the courthouse in handcuffs. Jakeís mom and her boyfriend were there. Jakeís mom was crying. They both explained to the court that Jake was out of control. Jakeís mom told the judge she was unable to control him.

The judge ordered Jake detained and set his next hearing for the following week. Jake didnít understand most of what was said at the hearing. Adults that Jake had never before seen used words that Jake had never before heard.

Thousands of juveniles are detained in detention centers throughout the state. Most are older than Jake. Some are even younger.

Jake pushed his sister and broke her snow-globes. Heís nine and he knows better.

Jake is now living in a jail cell. Donít we know better?


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.