Essay on Juvenile Crime and Punishment
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Juvenile Crime and Punishment
The punishment of juvenile criminals, specifically those between the ages of 13 and 18, in the event that they commit crimes of murder, is not severe enough. Minors between these critical ages in the teenage life who commit crimes of murder should be prosecuted as adults in all situations and locations.
Teenagers in this age group do kill others, old and young alike. The rate at which juveniles were arrested for murder rose 177 percent between 1978 and 1993 (NBER.org). This shows that there is a need for stopping or at least slowing this trend in homicidal acts. Statistics clearly show that juviniles between the ages of 14 and 17 during the years of 1976 to 1994 are increasing in numbers…show more content…
In fact, many schools and communities have increased security in the hope that this security will deter students from violent actions like murder. Many families are severely affected as well. Just recently (October 22, 1999) Carla June Hochhalter, the mother of one of the students (Anne Marie Hochhalter) injured in the Columbine High School tragedy, committed suicide because of the stress caused by her daughter's condition. This woman could no longer bear the tragedy that was caused by two young men who weren't thinking how many lives they would shatter. Suicide is a terrible way to handle situations, as the gunmen and mother of the injured girl did, but it does happen.
What happens to teenagers who commit homicide now varies depending on the location of the incident, home state of the murder(s), and scope of the crime (e.g. were many killed or just one). After the Littleton shooting, Colorado lawmakers blocked votes on bills that would make it easier to carry concealed weapons, banned lawsuits against manufacturers, and pre-empted local gun laws (usatoday.com/96). In states like Texas, the Houston First District Court of Appeals upheld the Texas law that provides a punishment of life imprisonment upon conviction of capital murder by a certified juvenile, which is a young adult ages 12 through 17 (tjpc).
All states should have the same laws as Texas when it comes to juvenile murder
Should Juveniles Be Tried As Adults?
The word justice is described in the dictionary as "a being righteous; fairness" and to bring to justice is stated as "to treat fitly or fairly". Is our juvenile justice system just? According to the definition it is not. So, do you think juveniles should be tried as adults or should they be tried as juveniles?
It is not fair or righteous to treat juveniles as adults. Today we live in a world of crime and the youth are committing many of these crimes. The juvenile court system is to deal with all crimes committed by minors (under age 18) but this is not happening mostly minor crimes and cases involving custody and neglect are being brought to these courts. When a person is tried, he will fall under the category of either an adult or a minor. However, things in the judicial system are changing. Kids who would normally be considered a minor are now beginning to be tried as an adult. How can we single out certain minors and call them adults? Were they considered adults before they carried out an act of violence? No. How did a violent act cause them to cross over a line that is defined by age? The major crimes such as murder and assault committed by youth are most times disputed in criminal court, which is adult court where children as young as ten are being tried and convicted as adults. Youth, that are not considered adults when it comes to voting, drinking, driving, are being sent to adult prisons for serious crimes. This is not justice; they can not try children as adults because they are not adults. In Aristotle's "A Definition of Justice" he writes that their needs to be equality before there can be justice. It is easy to see and understand that children and adults are not equal; they have different standards set forth by law. A child must reach the age of eighteen before he can vote, and age twenty one before he can drink. So why can he serve an adult punishment?
Poverty is a major factor that causes crime in society. Nearly 22 percent of children under the age of eighteen live in poverty. Poverty, in absolute terms, is more common for children than for any other group in society. Ageism, they say, is the last frontier in the quest for economic equality. Adolescents from lower socioeconomic status (SES) families regularly commit more violence than youth from higher SES levels. Social isolation and economic stress are two main products of poverty, which has long been associated with a number of D-words like disorganization, dilapidation, deterioration, and despair. Pervasive poverty undermines the relevance of school and traditional routes of upward mobility. The way police patrol poverty areas like an occupying army only reinforces the idea that society is the enemy whom they should hate. Poverty breeds conditions that are conducive to crime (O'Conner Par...
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