July 17th, 2003
As more and more adolescents are committing heinous crimes that were in the past restricted to adults, the society is demanding that these criminals be put behind bars and treated as adults, not as juveniles as they were in the past. The argument is, if the adolescents commit adult crimes then they must be prepared to be punished like adults as well for the following reasons.
One reason is because they are younger, more brutal, and completely unafraid of the law. Violent teenage criminals are increasingly vicious. Young people, often suffer from broken homes or so-called dysfunctional families, who commit murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and other violent acts. These emotionally damaged young people often are the products of sexual or physical abuse. They live in an aimless and violent present and have no sense of the past and no hope for the future. Therefore, they should be responsible for what they do because they are conscious of what is done everyday and they should be also responsible for what they do. A child of the age of 7 or more can differentiate the good and bad and this one can chose, but if one child is influenced by a criminal adult, this one has a better chance to become a criminal.
Another reason is because the rate of juvenile criminals is increasing even more than the adults. In 1996, for every 100,000 teenagers, 465 were arrested for violent crime, compared with 318 arrests per 100,000 adults. And the Justice Department reports that if current trends continue, the number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes will be more than double by the year 2010.
The third reason why we need to treat juvenile criminals as adults is because if violent juvenile offenders are put in juvenile detention facilities, they can have a very bad impact on other juvenile offenders who have not committed such serious crimes. Though we like to believe that time in prison rehabilitates offenders, it is unfortunately true that often the only thing criminals learn in jail is how to be better criminals. If violent juvenile offenders are held with other juveniles, they may teach the other juveniles to be violent; but if violent juvenile offenders are treated like adults, they cannot do that. In 1993, the Department of Justice conducted a study and found that 43% of juveniles in juvenile detention facilities had been arrested more than 5 times, and that over 20% had been arrested more than 10 times. In addition, juvenile criminals must be placed were adult criminals are because they are corrupted.
Finally, because the crimes of youths have become more aggressive, the punishment they receive has also had to become more aggressive. In the last ten years, states have turned to criminalization in response to the increase of violent criminal behavior among juveniles the right to a trial by jury. Justice administrators are finally beginning to realize that without strong repercussions, juveniles are just going to become increasingly more violent. So, they made an agreement that if juvenile criminals are able to commit crimes, they will also be able to support the punishment deserve for any crime they commit. Indeed, Juvenile criminals should be tried in the adult court system to insure that they will not be back again damaging our society and causing more death in the world. If they commit an adult crime, give them adult time!