Reasons Why Juveniles Shouldn't Be Punished Like Adult Offenders

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During the late 1980s, Donald Schmidt was convicted of sodomy and murder and has spent more than 20 years in the juvenile justice system. Near Santa Cruz California, he molested and drowned a 3 year old girl at the age of 16 years old and was determined in 1989 under California Law that he would be tried in juvenile court. With the laws of California, juvenile offenders who did serious felonies are to be kept under the juvenile system till the age of 25, but with this case he was held longer.

After granted parole in Southern California around the summer of 2008, he was then back behind bars after an arrest few months later. He was back arrested on January 20, 2009 for violating the rules of his release. With this case you see, the offender went back to jail after being convicted in juvenile court rather than the adult court for his case. Only some people don’t change from the past and this was only one case of many vicious crimes that have been committed. With this case for example, depending on how heinous and cruel the crime is, adolescents should be tried as adults considering the fact that they can understand the consequences of committing a felony.

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20,000 juveniles enter the adult justice system but only 10,000 of those actually go to adult prisons and jails. From all those children committing felonies, a lot of them commit horrendous crimes that can put other people’s safety at risk. Now, so why shouldn't these outrageous minors receive the penalties they deserve for like murder?

It’s true that a lot of the juveniles being punished should not be tried as adults due to the fact that their brain hasn’t been fully developed in comparison to adults. Many believe also that they are too young to go to jail and that it is better for them to go to rehabilitation and I agree. They have had problems with their personal life that may have been the cause to do these horrific acts, which is one of many reasons on why they shouldn’t go to jail so young.

But actually thinking, when do children actually know when they are doing something wrong? Between the ages of 13 to 17, teens are able to make decisions based on the options they have and the consequences they could have. With this, teens are able to understand the consequences they will get from certain actions they do. People must consider that teens can comprehend the situation they are in. So with this in consideration, juveniles should still go to jail for only heinous crimes that have committed.

Most of the crimes that are committed by juveniles are robbery or vandalism which shouldn’t be punished as hard right? but there is more horrific ones like first degree murders, where they should be punished for the unexplainable emotions that murderers have caused for the families of the victim or victims. Violence can spread like a disease. Some juveniles have their hearts cold as ice and have affected many families throughout the US by taking someone’s life.

Will we really let these families live without their kids because of some teen who caused this problem? We can still solve this problem by teaching and helping teens to have a problem free life, but also to not have them be tried for simple, non violent crimes. A 14 year old boy was charged as an adult for throwing a rock at a police officer. See? This is a crime where they shouldn’t be punished as hard. If we create stability for children being tried as adults, minors will fear of committing violent crimes that will be sentenced for a long time which might reduce the chance of having juveniles in jail.

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