How much more does the crime rate have to rise before we realize something needs to change? “The Juvenile Justice System was created to provide individualized rehabilitation to offenders of minor crimes such as truancy, shoplifting, and vandalism. But youth today are taking advantage of this lenient and outdated system and are committing violent crimes because they believe they will get off easy. It is a battle against the immeasurable loss of human life, personal security and wasted human resources. They fail to put themselves in the position of the daughters whose Dartmouth parents were brutally stabbed in the head and chest by 16- and 17-year-old boys or the pain of the Columbine [high school in Colorado] shootings. They forget that a crime is a crime, regardless of the offender’s age and that sometimes the criminal justice system works harder for the criminal than the victim” (Estudillo, appohigh.org). Juveniles should be tried as adults.
There are benefits of trying juveniles as adults, most arguments that are found are against it, but research has found that it is very helpful. One of the benefits of trying juveniles as adults are that it minimizes and stops crimes committed by minors. According to the Office of Justice Programs, the number of arrests of people under 18 made in 2017, in the US is 809,700. This number has gone down 59% since 2008, but it is still very high.
By trying juveniles as adults it could help stop minors from committing violent crimes or any crimes at all. The court systems are now outdated and very lenient, which could very well be a problem. Today’s youth take advantage of the outdated court systems and commit crimes because they know they won’t get in very much trouble. After they commit a crime, even if it is a small crime, they are now criminals and when they realize that they won’t get in trouble they will keep committing crimes. Eventually, some of the same ones that got off easy could end up doing a very serious crime like murdering someone or multiple people.
Another benefit of trying juveniles as adults is bringing justice, not only to the criminal but also to the victims families. The families of the victims will feel more at peace knowing the criminal that took the life or harmed their loved one is behind bars. They will feel better knowing that the criminal is no longer a threat to them or anyone else. No matter the age of the criminal, they will still feel threatened and be scared if that criminal is walking around free. These families and the victim will have to worry about looking over their shoulder every time they try to go somewhere or even when they are in their own home.
The reason a justice system was created is to stop criminals and keep them from committing any more crimes or at least show them there is a consequence for their actions. So, when juveniles are let off easy for a crime they learn that they can commit more crimes or the same crime and they won’t get in trouble for it. They end up being repeat offenders and could eventually move on to more violent crimes. “The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a period of increasing severity of offenses and an increase in lethal violence. Most of the violence is directed at victims of the same age, and the age period of 16-24 is a high-risk time for violent victimization.” (From Juvenile Delinquency to Young Adult Offending, www.nij.gov).
In a juvenile correction facility, there is only one person that determines the punishment of the minor. If the minor is tried in an adult court, they will have to go in front of a jury so there is more than one person that makes the decision. When going in front of a jury, there is more than one point of view. With a jury majority rules, so if multiple people agree that the minor should be punished then the minor will be punished.
There are pros to trying juveniles as adults but just like everything else it also has cons. One problem with trying juveniles as adults are that the minors will be put at risk. A juveniles competency is not as developed as an adult. Since they are not as competent as an adult is, they might not understand the court process and they might not have the competence to stand trial. Another problem with the development of a minor is that they are emotionally immature and they might not understand the consequences of the crime they committed.
One of the bigger issues with trying juveniles as an adult is the possibility of them being placed in a dangerous situation. After the minor is charged, they will be stuck in a jail cell with adults and in the cell, they are exposed to many possible life-threatening situations. “Juveniles confined in adult facilities face grave dangers to their safety and well-being, including significantly higher rates of physical assault, sexual abuse, and suicide than their counterparts in juvenile facilities” (Wood, ebscohost.com). The possibility of something like this happening is very concerning to the public and is the main reason so many people are against trying juveniles as adults.
Putting minors in jail instead of rehabilitating them like usual could cause them to lose hope. If they lose hope this could make them become an even worse criminal and instead of doing small crimes they could become more violent. They could eventually have the mindset that there is no way to rehabilitate them and that there is no way for them change. Even though the whole point of putting them in jail is to teach them a lesson it could always have a negative effect and do the exact opposite of what it was meant to do.
Everyone makes mistakes, especially at a young age and sometimes they are pressured into it by someone else. They might have gotten caught up in it with a group of people or pressured into it by “friends” or they might have just gotten mad and decided to do it so they could take their anger out. There are many factors to why the committed a crime but jail could be a little too harsh of a punishment for something so small. They deserve a second chance, they should get a punishment for committing a crime but jail is not always the answer. Even adults make mistakes and do stuff they should not do, but minors are stilling learning what is right and wrong.
Juveniles should be tried as adults because it helps to show them that there are consequences for their actions. Today’s court systems are outdated and minors commit crimes because they know they will get off easy. If they start actually being punished for the crimes they commit, future crimes could be prevented and the crime rates will lower. This action could possibly prevent future violent crimes like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and other extremely violent crimes. ‘Adult time for adult crime’–the mantra of the get-tough-on-juvenile-crime lobby-says nothing about the age of the offender, except for the fact that it ought to be considered irrelevant” (Steinburg,ebscohost.com).
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