Legal Aid Society


LAS’ Dawne Mitchell Delivers Gut Check on Arrest, Prosecution of Minors

Dawne Mitchell, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, was highlighted in The New York Times’ “Quotation of the Day” feature for her statement commenting on the need for New York to finally enact legislation (S4051A/A4982A) that would end the arrest and prosecution of children who are under the age of 12, except those charged with homicide.

Mental health experts – as well as juvenile justice experts – all agree that arrests traumatize children, ensnare them in the legal system and increase their chance of recidivism.

“What we know now is that the science doesn’t support prosecution of second-graders,” Mitchell said, citing cognitive science that shows such young children lack true awareness of the consequences of their actions.