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Poverty Matters

Children wrapped up in the juvenile justice system overwhelmingly come from families in poverty. As the map below of the Springfield, MA area shows, cities (and especially poor neighborhoods within cities) account for the majority of children who are arrested and end up in the juvenile justice system. In recognition of this fact, the Massachusetts Trial Court issued a Court Rule in November 2016 that presumes that all children in conflict with the law are ‘indigent,’ and therefore all children are assigned free legal counsel (i.e. a defense lawyer) at arraignment without requiring that a family prove they are in poverty.

Source: Universal Crime Reports (UCR) data submitted to FBI via EOPSS.