How would you feel if the police arrested kids all over our country to jail?

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How would you feel if the police arrested kids all over our country to jail for just crossing the street the wrong way or pushing another kid on the playground? That is what is happening to many underage juvenile all over the United States; they are being sent to adult prisons for crimes that do not deserve such severe punishments. Why they were tried as adults is an enigma and we will explain why this is a terrible injustice. In 1899 children in between the ages of 7-14 were believed they were incapable of committing criminal intent. The court system back then believed that if enough evidence could be gathered to convince a jury, the underage person would be convicted and sent to an adult prison. Currently in our state, persons as young as 14 can be tried as an adult, due to the effects of Emily’s law. Emily’s law was created when her parents left her with a babysitting company, and the owner’s 13 year old son raped the 2 year old and threw her against the wall. She then died on impact.Throughout the harshness of sentencing juveniles, a court specified for juvenile delinquents was created in 1899. Trying juveniles as adults is too severe, because the charges set against them are unjust. Instead, these children could be rehabilitated and become productive citizens. Sending them to prison will make them vulnerable to deadly danger, and destroy any chance of changing, flourishing and returning to society.

Every year, juvenile’s courts in the United States handle an estimated 1.7 million cases in which the youth was charged with a delinquency offense. In 2007 juvenile courts handled about 4,600 delinquency cases per day. The trends in juvenile court cases paralleled the decline in arrests of persons under 18. In 1996 more than half the cases waived to criminal court were non-violent, meaning that most juveniles commit lesser crimes that require only rehab to fix. Too many children are prosecuted as adults for crimes that do not fit the punishment. Latest statistics say that 67% of juvenile defendants in adult court are, African American; 77% of juveniles sent to adult prisons are minorities (60% African American; 15% Hispanic; 1% American Indian; and 1% Asian). Youth commit only a small portion of the nation’s crime. For Example, in 2008, 12% of violence crime clearance and 18% of the property crime clearances nationwide involved only youth. According to FBI, youth under age 18 accounted for only 15% of all arrests. Every state has laws that require some youth to be prosecuted in adult criminal court. These laws, combined with other statutes, are putting 1,000 of young people at risk of facing harmful and irreversible consequences, often from minor mistakes. Researchers estimate that as much as 250,000 youth are prosecuted as adults every year. But the underlying rationales of the juvenile court system are that youth are developmentally different from adults & that their behavior is malleable. Rehabilitation and treatment, an addition to community protection, are considered to be primary and viable goals.

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Though the quotes, “You do the crime you do the time”; “Mess around with the law and you are going to spend time in jail, and jail life isn’t pretty,” fit well with the public’s opinions towards the teens in prison, they do not know that in addition to receiving an adult sentence and possibly serving time in an adult prison, juveniles convicted in criminal court may suffer other long-term legal consequences like being subjected to court jurisdiction for any subsequent offense committed as a juvenile. They have to have their conviction as a matter of public records. Having to report their convictions in employment applications. Losing their right to vote. Also losing the right to serve in the military. Although being in adult court gives a juvenile more constitution protection, it has distinct disadvantages. For example, they would be in position to have a more a severe sentencing and a possibility of serving time in an adult correctional facility or in other words jail. Another disadvantage is that the adult prisons or jails aren’t safe for a juvenile.

Children in adult prison are in severe danger. They suffer higher rates of physical and sexual abuse and suicide. Compared to those held in juvenile detention centers, youth held in adult jails are 7.7 times more likely to commit suicide. Five times more likely to be sexually assaulted. Twice as likely to be beaten by staff. 50% are more likely to be attacked with a weapon. In the public’s eye, the teens that suffer through this are just getting what they deserve. But in reality the restricted youth are at great risk of sexual assault. More than 1 in 10 youth in state juvenile facilities and large non-state facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission, if less than 12 months. We agree that adult court is for the most serious and radical offenders. While it is true that juvenile offenders are waivered to adult courts because they are a menace to the community and the reasoning of their crime, did it occur to you that youths held in adult prison are at greater risk of sexual victimization? The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission found that “more than any other group of incarcerated persons, youth incarcerated with adults are probably at the highest risk for sexual abuse.” Some of you may say that this isn’t such a horrible thing compared to their sins. But this crucial and inhuman act may be more deadly than you think. It turns out that Just Detention International estimated that young men are five times more likely to be attacked and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly sexually transmitted disease.

Even though I agree that they are young, that’s no excuse for what they did, and that is why adolescents need rehabilitation. Doctors say that juveniles in adult jail or prison have bi-polar disorders, depression, or commit suicide. Many juvenile offenders with serious mental disorders have not been responsive to standard interventions that are designed for youths with less serious mental and behavioral disorders. Because juveniles were kept in jail for a longer period of time in adult prison rather than youths sent to juvenile court, they may develop psychiatric problems and the conditions associated with the extended detention may increase the risk of suicidal behavior. According to research done by Brent and Colleagues it has been confirmed that adolescents who completed suicide had a higher rate of a mental disorder and ADHD than those who attempted suicide. “Youths dealt with in adult criminal court, 68% had at least one psychiatric disorder and 43% had two or more types of disorders,” states a study by Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine. One study that examined mental health problems among youths converted to adult criminal court shows that on one clinician’s coding of 50 of his case records that two of those disorders are Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and learning disorder. In addition, a public study in Pennsylvania in 2005 showed that the public would rather pay for rehabilitation than putting juveniles in jail. This is because on an average study, it is almost 20% greater than it is for incarcerating. Not only is it less costly, but you are giving a child another chance of improving themselves rather than rotting in jail for years to come. All in all we believe that rehabilitation is by far the best choice for a child who wronged in past but wants forgiveness and a fresh start.

In conclusion incarcerating mere children in prison makes them vulnerable to deadly things such as the staff, inmates, and mental/physical weakness. Burton, just released from prison says “a lot of stuff in prison hardens you as a human being and you’ve got to harden yourself to survive or there won’t be a chance for you at all”. Don’t you think for one second that you will get away with trouble just because of your age. These kids weren’t given mercy because of their age and they have their lives ahead of them. Mess around with the law now, because if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime.

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How would you feel if the police arrested kids all over our country to jail?. (2022, Aug 25). Retrieved from

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