2,500 let that be a number you have engraved into your bain. 2,500 children serving life imprisonments in this “free” country of ours. Majority of the rest of the world have no children imprisoned for life the U.S is the only country currently imprisoning children for life. 2,500 yet were not doing enough for our communities these children who are committing these heinous crimes are generally from impoverished areas. If we can at least try to help these impoverished areas in the U.S we can limit the amount of children criminals. Us as a society are to blame for these kids turning out the way they did.
A success story of giving these kids a second chance goes back to February 24, 2012, when Terrence Graham got re-sentenced from life down to 25 years including the years he had already been serving. Indeed he did commit a crime but he did it as a child he was another product of his environment and plus he did not take life away so why should his life be stripped away from him? That’s one question these judges have to ask themselves, a person should not be imprisoned for life if he himself didn’t take a life. Kids shouldn’t be in jail for the rest of their lives sure sometimes they commit terrible criminal acts but their brain was highly undeveloped and we can’t compare a kids standards to adult standards. For example, Jeff Kunerth provided enough evidence that Terrence Graham was influenced by older folk who were most likely forcing him to do such criminal acts “Graham was arrested at 16 for a restaurant burglary with two other teenagers. Sentenced to probation, he was arrested a second time at 17 during a home invasion with two older men. For violating his probation, the judge sentenced Graham to life without parole.”
That just goes to show how hypocritical our communities are it’s the older folk that influence these criminal acts. Children convicted as young as 13 are sentenced to spend the rest of their life in prison walls. It raises the question why is the U.S the only country that imprisons young children for life. Marjie Lundstrom makes an interesting point saying “Never mind that he is indisputably twelve at the time of “the incident.” Is he a boy? Or a man?”. Simply if you are under 18 your a simply a boy your brain isn’t as developed as it should and your not 100% there.
We have criminalized teens and have painted a picture on them as untrustworthy and scandalous sometimes even murderers. We have to erase that negative stigma against teenagers because some of us are productive members of society and we understand the consequences of disobeying the law and that is due to how our parents raised us. All comes back to correlate with the situation we were raised up in.
The law side of thing claims they’re children until they commit crime. How is convicting a child of let’s say 13 years old to 24 years in prison for either home invasion or robbery. These are children they are open for influence from peers sometimes as kids we all just want to fit in our situation. Sometimes fitting in might be doing some type of criminal activity but that isn’t necessary their fault it’s whoever puts those ideas in their heads to think what they’re doing is okay and acceptable and that is the problem with our impoverished communities we have to stop the crime their to stop the crime else were. Marjie Lundstrom also mentioned “Last month in Sacramento, a fifteen-year-old Yuba City youth who reportedly claimed he was mimicking a TV program about little girls who rob a bank was given a 26-years-to-life prison term. Tried as an adult, Thomas A. Preciado was fourteen when he stabbed to death a mini mart clerk.” I don’t know how much clearer that gets that these kids always get influenced to do these criminal acts. There’s enough evidence that these kids alone don’t think of these criminal acts there is always a catalyst behind it all for instance this teenager was influenced by a tv program a violent tv program in fact. Not all violent T.V programs make teenagers killers but it certainly could act like a catalyst or a place for a ideas for these criminal children.
Juvenile Justice won over the law on a fateful day in June 2012. Federal judges were fed up with the amount of children that were imprisoned in their federal and county jails. So they made a piece of legislation from the infamous trials of Miller v Alabama and Jackson v Hobbs.
They were pretty much forced to make legislation to protect these children from being sentenced for life because instead of fixing the problem they are just drowning themselves some more because at the same time it cost a lot more money to house these children for life. So they might also want to think of it as an investment put these people back into society to be useful for something after serving and doing their time. We can only feel sorry for the things that we did whenever we were young but if you do your time and get your lesson that it’s only fair to be released back into public. Breaking down their actions to a science becomes a tool for legislators and judges. For instance in Paul Thompson’s article he wrote “Linking this maelstrom of normal brain change with legal or moral accountability is tough: Even though normal teens are experiencing a wildfire of tissue loss in their brains, that does not remove their accountability. What is clear from the research is that the parts of the frontal lobes that inhibit recklessactions restructure themselves with startling speed in the teen years. Given this delicate—and drastic—reshaping of the brain, teens need all the help they can get to steer their development onto the right path”.
Teen brains start developing extremely quick during puberty and their is a certain type of change that can be associated with violent acts. Hence why they become a bit more rebellious and they don’t watch what they say during times. It all brain psychology and the way these kids respond to “life” during the time frame of their teen years. B.J Casey, Rebecca M. Jones, and Todd A. Hare all had a pretty excellent explanation of the adolescent brain and the problems with adolescent way of abstracting their thoughts. Their article states… [Statistics]
- 13,000 adolescent deaths in the United States each year. Approximately 70% of these deaths result from motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide
- Adolescence is also a time of increased emotional reactivity. During this period, the social environment is changing such that more time is spent with peers versus adults, and more conflicts arise between the adolescent and his/her parents
- On a cognitive or behavioral level, the immature cognition of adolescence is characterized as impulsive.
- approximately 90% of its adult size by age six, the gray and white matter subcomponents of the brain continue to undergo dynamic changes throughout adolescence
Your brain isn’t completely what it is until your 21 it shows that still by the age of six its only 90% of the actual size. Meaning you have yet to develop 10% of your whole brain until the age of 21. So brain development in teens is really important to discuss while we are talking about the juvenile justice system.
We need to pay attention to the way our teen acts so that we can take action. Reading a teenager might be a lot harder than it looks but to stop juvenile incarceration parents must put in their part to make sure their kid does not turn into a criminal. We have to save and educate our teens before we let their environment corrupt them.