The age of 18 brings about freedom for young people in America. At 18, a person legally becomes an “adult”. A person can now buy cigarettes or a home, vote, and even get married. In addition, from their 18th birthday and beyond, the young person is no longer tried for crimes in juvenile courts; now, they are tried in adult courts. But, does one or two years make such a difference between sixteen year olds and eighteen year olds? Is it fair for one person, just seventeen years of age, to be tried in a juvenile court, receiving a lesser sentence for murder than an person just six months older in age who committed the same crime?
I think not. Trying juveniles as adults should be constantly allowed because punishment should be based on the harshness of the crime, not the criminal’s age. Responsibility and out of date courts are 2 examples of reasons why juveniles should be tried as adults. In schools, counselors of juveniles don’t have the skills to handle juvenile delinquents. Most counselors do not deal with juveniles that have committed violent crimes. The juveniles get sent to a rehabilitation facility, but sometimes they don’t always work. The juvenile may go back to continue crime when getting out of the rehab facility.
Most counselors now don’t have the resources needed to “fix” the juvenile. Juvenile crime records show that it is one of the most valid predictors of repeat adult crimes and adult offenders. 13 people were killed and 24 wounded by two students in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999. Do you believe they should have been tried as adults or as juveniles? Unfortunately, it didn’t even get to that point because during the Columbine shooting, the two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed themselves to end the terror that struck the high school.
In the article, “Juveniles Should Be Tried as Adults in Certain Circumstances”, Mary Onelia Estudillo said, “Children are killed by children. Teens are killed by teens. And still we refuse to punish them because “they are too young to understand that what they are doing is wrong. ” If they have the ability to do the crime, they sure enough have the ability to do the time. The responsibilities of the juvenile should be counted for their crime; crimes are no different if a sixty year old does it or whether a 16 year old does it; someone or many are still losing their life due to lack of maturity.
Juveniles who commit minor crimes such as truancy, shoplifting, and vandalism can have rehabilitation; but sometimes rehab doesn’t always work and they go back to crime. People believe that we should have the threat of a harsher sentence will make the children think twice before they act. Instead of giving them second chances, responsibility should come first. If the juvenile decides to commit a crime I believe that they should take responsibility of the crime. If the juvenile should commit an adult crime, they should serve the adult consequences as the adults do.
Most juveniles that commit a crime will get punishment as a slap on the wrist. 125,000 youth are charged for a serious crime every year. Juveniles think that they can take advantage of the outdated court system and commit violent crimes and believe they’ll get off easy. Courts also don’t have the ability to handle today’s violent crime of juvenile offenders. A child has to do 10 to 15 serious crimes before something may be done. Should it really get to that point, or should we do something about it as soon as they do the first crime?
Other than the horrific tragedy of Columbine, there have been many catastrophes involving juveniles not being tried as adults, but for what they did, they definitely should have been. Mary Onelia Estudillo said from the article, “Juveniles Should Be Tried as Adults in Certain Circumstances”; “It is not a war on youth. It is a battle against the immeasurable loss of human life, personal security and wasted human resources. ” The courts punish the adolescent because they committed an adult crime. Juvenile murders have tripled to 3,100 since 1984.
Since 1992, juvenile courts handled 2,500 criminal homicides and over a million crimes. Two 13 year olds and two 15 year olds were accused of killing a New York University student by chasing him into a car’s path during a robbery attempt, but they were charged as juveniles because under New York law, children under 16 years of age can’t be charged with felony murder, man slaughter, or attempted crimes in adult court. If they would have been tried as adults they would have been convicted of second-degree murder, the boys would have faced sentences of up to life in prison.
In juvenile court, the maximum sentence is five years in a juvenile jail or up to age 21. Unlike the New York case, Jordan Brown who was charged with homicide was 11 when he allegedly killed his father’s pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole. He’s considered the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever. Whether you 60 or 16, you’re taking a person’s life away. We’ve lost more lives due to the fact that we don’t punish harsher.
A child who is 17, only will wait a couple of months before their 18 and get out of the juvenile facility, but an 18 year old may get years before they can get out if they did the same crime. Is that fair in the rights of the 18 year old? A couple of months should not change the fact that they did the same crime; both the 18 and 17 year olds should get the same amount of time and be tried as adults. The child should take responsibilities of their actions and think twice before they do the crime. If you do the crime, you do the time.