Punishment Of Juvenile Delinquency: Juveniles Should Be Tried As Adults

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Lately, in the news we see many cases of Juveniles committing serious crimes with little punishment. In 2018 young adults aged 10-17 committed 2,167 violent offenses for every 100,000 of them. There are many cases of young adults committing heinous crimes but do not get punished as harshly as they should. Even though some people would argue that they are not mentally capable of understanding the consequences to their actions for the long term but, when is it okay to take someone else’s life? If they commit the crime they know their intentions and what is going to happen to them when they do decide to go on with it. In every state there are regulations for the juvenile court system, this means that each state has different requirements to take the case to an adult court where the Juveniles can be face charges as an Adult. Also, most states have the same age that is considered an “Adult” which is 18. The only 2 states that have a different age requirement is New York and North Carolina, These states consider 16 as an adult.

A juvenile should be tried as an adult if it fits the crime that was committed. The juvenile will most likely not re-offend when going to an adult prison because they will learn their lesson. When more juveniles that commit serious crimes get punished harshly other young people will not follow their steps because they realize the repercussions in doing these things.

Juveniles usually learn their lesson when they go to an adult prison because they realize that that is not the way they want to spend their lives. 66% of youth who have been arrested will become repeat offenders within 24 months. 49% of youth become repeat offenders within the first year. 44% of repeat offenders are rearrested for a felony. The percentages show that Juvenile offenders usually learn their lesson, Even though there is still room to improve in the justice system. Some of the offenders choose to not re-offend but there a lot of them that do so they stay in the criminal system for the rest of their life. This may be caused by getting sent to adult prisons when they were not expecting it or simply did not want to go. The youths made the choices they made at the time they committed the crimes but they were simply not thinking about the bigger picture of what was going to happen to them. They may have thought that they would be sent to a juvenile correction facility for a couple of months or have some sort of rehabilitation and be let loose but when they realize it does not work like that they get afraid of what is going to happen to them while they are locked up.

Juveniles do not usually get tried as adults for their crimes so other kids could believe that they too could get away with their crimes. It would be unfair to the victims and others if they would not be tried as an adult and serve the amount of time that is deserved depending on the crime. Everyone is influenced by something, either good or bad so they can take the Juvenile court system and make decisions based on what happens. The young adults would become influenced by what they see, If they were to hear about a juvenile committing a heavy crime and serving a long sentence, they will most likely not want to take that risk because most juveniles understand that there are consequences that come with a person’s actions so they would not put their freedom on the line for a petty crime. This influence would deter other people from committing crimes like Murder, Rape, Robbery, Etc. Since we are the most connected era most kids have access to a device like a phone, computer, tablet, or a TV. In these, there are social media that spread information very quickly meaning that they will almost always be aware of what is happening around them and how it affects others.

A local incident was when a student was shot and killed at butler high school. It was a tragic situation and the shooter was tried as an adult and is currently serving 7 years.

Victims of crimes caused by Juveniles will also have some peace of mind when it comes to the sentencing. The victims want to see the person serve a long and harsh sentence to cope with the pain that they went through. A 10-year-old girl killed a baby by hitting it and stomping on its head just because it was crying, This is a terrible thing to experience as the parent of the baby so justice had to be served for the taking of innocent life. The girl was later charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Someone who has a family member or close friend killed

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would want there to be some sort of repercussion for the killer’s actions. They would want that person to be sent to prison and sentenced to life since the person that was murdered can never get theirs back. As said before, the Juveniles understand completely what they are doing and all it is causing is pain so it is needed that they face the time that is deserved for serious offenses that change people. Every day something happens, A place gets shot up, A person dies over petty arguments and there are a lot of younger guys doing these things since they believe that they are above the law or just do not care at all. People like this need to be sent to Adult prisons to learn that none of that is acceptable in our society and that it will get them nowhere.

It is understood that something that plays into Juvenile Offenders is mental health. 40-80% of them have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. Most of them have some sort of issue that ties into anger, but this does not mean that they should be let off just because of this. A school shooter that is a teenager understands fully what he is going to do, He gets a weapon from somewhere, Loads it and proceeds to carry out his plan. This is not accidental behavior because that person that is going to shoot up a school understands completely what he is going to do with that gun. Teens that commit crimes just because they have a mental disorder that makes them angry for no reason is no excuse, there are many other ways for that person to express what they are feeling or cope with what they are going through at the time. Some people with certain conditions and mental disorders should be given lighter punishments though, For example, if a teen with severe autism were to murder someone obviously they should not be punished as harsh because they do not truly understand what they did. If a teen that has anger problems murders someone he should definitely be held accountable for his actions because they understand the concept of what is right and wrong. There was a teenager that was 14 at the time (2016) that Brutally killed his math teacher with a box cutter in the High School’s bathroom. Not only did he murder her he raped her and robbed her. He was tried as an adult and was sentenced to 40 years in prison with the chance of parole. The family of the innocent teacher that was murdered will never get to see her ever again but, the killer will be able to walk free someday.

In conclusion, the justice system that involves charging a Juvenile as an Adult has many pros as well as cons. Justice needs to be sought depending on the severity of the offenses made even if it requires a young person to be sentenced as an adult. These juveniles need to own up to their mistakes because everything was intentional from the start so they should be punished accordingly. Mental health is a big factor that comes into play when dealing with these kinds of situations If a juvenile has severe mental issues that may stop them from acting rationally than they should not be punished as tough as someone who had nothing going on with them. There are many situations where people lie about having mental issues just to get off easier. That is why this is such a sensitive space. Everyone is accountable for their own actions so depending on the situation they should be charged as adults.

Work Cited

Underwood, Lee A, and Aryssa Washington. “Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 18 Feb. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772248/OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05200&selOffenses= October 31, 2019.

Chief, Editor in. “22 Should Juveniles Be Tried as Adults Pros and Cons.” ConnectUS, 26 Mar. 2019, connectusfund.org/22-should-juveniles-be-tried-as-adults-pros-and-cons.

Ellis, Ralph, and Jason Hanna. “Teen Sentenced in Massachusetts Teacher Killing.” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Feb. 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/02/26/us/massachusetts-teacher-killing-sentence/index.html.

O’Matz, Megan. “Mental Health Provider Had Long History with Parkland Shooter. Was Agency Negligent?” Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 17 Jan. 2019, www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/florida-school-shooting/fl-ne-henderson-cruz-civil-suit-20190116-story.html. 

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