ARREST AND DETENTION
STATUS OFFENDERS & NON-OFFENDERS
- Whenever a Status Offender or Non-Offender is taken into police custody (arrested), he/she MUST be placed in a non-secure area of the police department (if the parent/guardian is unavailable, for whatever reason). The non-secure area should be completely separated from adult offenders in such a way that adult offenders and juvenile offenders cannot see or hear eachother.
- A law enforcement representative must maintain visual contact with the juvenile for the entire length of the juvenile’s detention in the non-secure area. RIGL 14-1-26.1
- RI Law forbids detaining ANY juvenile for more than twenty-four (24) hours at the local police station while waiting for parents, guardians, or transfer to an alternative temporary placement, or an order by a Family Court judge.
- Under Federal Law, this time frame is lessened to only six (6) hours. The six (6) hour time limit begins only when the youth has been placed in secure detention – not at time of arrest or at the start of questioning/booking procedures. It also includes any time youth is removed from secure detention. The clock continues to run while youth is removed for medical treatment, meals, bathroom breaks, etc.
As outlined in the RI Juvenile Standards, Guidelines for the Handling of Youthful Offenders and Non-Offenders, written and published in 2007 by the RI Justice Commission in order to display compliance with various Federal mandates,
A judge or magistrate of the RI Family court should NOT issue a detention order unless:
- there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and the juvenile committed itt, and
- the issuance of a summons would not adequately assure the juvenile's future appearance in court;
- protect the juvenile from an imminent threat of serious bodily harm;
- or reduce the risk of the juvenile inflicting serious bodily harm on others or
- committing serious property offenses prior to adjudication.
In deciding whether or not a juvenile should be detained pending a first court appearance, the Family Court judge or law enforcement officer must consider:
- the nature and seriousness of the alleged offense;
- the juvenile’s record of delinquency offenses, including whether the juvenile has any other charges currently pending against him/her in the Family court,
- the juvenile’s record of willful failures to appear following the issuance of a summons; (Note that pursuant to 14-1-17, a Family Court Judge may issue a warrant for a juvenile's arrest even if the juvenile was not personally served with a summons or notice to appear if the judge believes that the child wouldn't have appeared even if he/she had been personally served. This would NOT constitute a willful failure to appear. Unfortunately, whether a capias was issued after the child received notice of a court date, or pursuant to 14-1-17 is not readily ascertainable from a cursory review of the child's record)
- whether or not there is an alternative place the child can go, including the presence of a parent, guardian, or other suitable person who is able and willing to provide supervision and care for the juvenile and to assure compliance with a summons.
For further information on the unlawful detention of status offenders, see: "Status Offenses & The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: The Exception that Swallowed the Rule" National Center for Youth Law, June 18, 2008