In recent discussion of Juvenile Justice, a controversial issue has been whether juveniles should be tried as adults in adult courts for heinous crimes they have committed. On one hand, some argue that they should not be tried as adults and do not deserve harsh sentences but as children seeking help. On the other hand, however, others argue that those who commit such heinous crimes ought to be punished no matter the age. The juvenile court was created to handle juvenile offenders on the basis of their youth rather than their crimes.
The purpose of juvenile court is treatment and guidance rather than punishment. Juveniles don’t have the knowledgeable or moral capacity to understand the consequences of their actions; similarly, they lack the same capacity to be trial defendants. Juveniles today are more knowledgeable and cultured at a younger age; they understand the implications of violence and how violent weapons are used. It is irrational to argue that a juvenile, who sees the effect of violence around him in the news every day, does not understand what killing really is.
The fact that “adolescent killers” know how to load and shoot a gun or use a knife to kill is an indicator that they understand exactly what they’re doing. Adolescents’ comparative developmental immaturity contributes to immature decision and criminal behavior with poor decision making, not thinking about the future, giving in to peer pressure, risk taking, unformed identity, impulsivity and self-control. Nathaniel Brazill, age 14 when he committed the crime, and was convicted of first-degree murder facing life in prison without parole.
When confronting a Florida grand jury, Brazill would often look confused, when the verdicts were being read. Giving the fact that juveniles are incapable to stand trail. Assistant professor Paul Thompson of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles said “…. in recent teen-brain research is the finding that a massive loss of brain tissue occurs in the teen years. ” Juveniles understand what they do is wrong but they do not take time to evaluate and consider the consequences from the crimes they commit due to the fact of that important part of the brain that has still not developed yet. Causing their actions to be irrational.
Crimes are not committed based on race, ethnicity or socioeconomic factors but by age and intelligence. Our justice system depends upon holding perpetrators responsible for their actions. Harsh sentencing acts as a deterrent to kids who are considering committing crimes. Trying children as adults has coincided with lower rates of juvenile crimes. Light sentences don’t teach kids the lesson they need to learn: If you commit a terrible crime, you will spend a considerable part of your life in jail. The juvenile prison system can help kids turn their lives around; rehabilitation gives kids a second chance.
Successful rehabilitation, many argue, is better for society in the long term run than releasing someone who’s spent their entire young adult life in general prison population. A young person released from juvenile prison is far less likely to commit a crime than someone coming out of an adult facility. The results of an adult offense and a juvenile offense are the same. A murder committed by a twelve year old, a murder committed by a seventeen year old, and a murder committed by a twenty two year old all end up with the same thing: a dead body and a distraught group of friends and family.
We must look at the result of an action to establish morality, and because the result of an offense committed by someone of any age is alike, we can see that there is no reason to give have a different justice system for juveniles. Because it is indubitably and immoral to hold juveniles to a different standard than adults, even though the outcome of their offenses are the same, it is vital to confirm that juveniles ought to be tried as adults. The end result of a heinous crime remains the same, no matter who commits it. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. “