Right now, in Maine, there is no minimum age at which someone can be tried and sent to juvenile detention at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.  Yes, in theory, a six year old could be tried and sent to a detention center.  Not surprisingly, cases like that do not happen very often.

The last notable time a "child" was prosecuted for a serious crime was in 2012, when a ten year old girl was charged with manslaughter for allegedly suffocating an infant.  In that particular case, the girl was not sent to Long Creek.  She was in the DHHS system and got the help and support she needed.

According to a report by WCSH 6, lawmakers are discussing setting minimums for putting a youth on trial or incarcerating them.  The bill proposed by representative Victoria Morales would set the minimum for a trial in the court system at 12 and the minimum age for incarceration at Long Creek at 14.  Cases below those minimums would be handled outside the court system.  It would also give juveniles access to legal representation throughout every stop of the process.

However, some people have concerns about the bill.  According to Christine Thibeault, the juvenile prosecutor for Cumberland County, the bill does not set up programs to help youth with mental health or substance abuse issues.

The News Center Maine report further explains the bill and the concerns

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