Juvenile Arrest Explained

There was a recent dust up on TV about the IFPD charging a 10-year-old for bringing a gun to school.  Some people thought this meant we drug him out of class in hand cuffs and hauled him off to jail.  Not even close.

Some things can’t be explained with a 10-second sound bite, so here’s my shot at giving a quick summary of how the juvenile system works:

Except in the most serious cases, the juvenile is not picked up by police and taken to the juvenile detention center, but rather is “referred” by police to the Juvenile Probation Department via paper, not hand cuffs.  At that point, Juvenile Probation does a background on the child – taking in consideration prior criminal acts, the current criminal act, and age – and makes a recommendation to prosecutors.

Prosecutors can then either file formal criminal charges in court or place the juvenile in an informal diversion program.  A diversion program is usually for those that are first-time offenders or young offenders.  Diversion programs are designed to address the problem and provide a plan to correct it without the child having a permanent record.  The goal is what’s best for the child.

The deputy prosecutor assigned to juveniles discussed this case with me and we both agreed that informal diversion would likely be appropriate.  You may be one of those that thought the kid should have just received a time out.  Bringing a gun inside the school?  Sorry, I’m not there.  Haul him off in handcuffs?  Nope, I’m not there either.  Diversion program designed to help support the parent and help the child be a productive member of society?  - Sounds about right to me.