The Debate over Whether Juveniles Should Be Punished as Children or Adults

On any given day you canâ€TMt open up a newspaper or watch television and not find an article or a broadcast about juveniles committing crimes. The government follows a policy that no crime goes unpunished. The controversy that surrounds courtrooms today is whether or not a juvenile should stand trial as an adult and be punished like an adult for committing serious offenses. One side believes that juveniles should be punished according to the severity of the crime in which they committed. The opposition believes that juveniles are too young and immature to understand the consequences of what he or she had did wrong.

So the question is should juveniles be punished as children or punished as adults? There are many theories as to the cause of juvenile delinquency. including oneâ€TMs economic background, substance abuse, delinquent peer groups, exposure to violence, availability of firearms and media violence, and lack of parental control over children. Forty- one states currently have laws that make it easier to try a juvenile that has committed a violent crime and is over the age of 13 as an adult.

In 1995, Texas lowered the age a juvenile could be tried as an adult from 15 to 13. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana also have laws setting the minimum age a juvenile can be tried as an adult at 13. At age thirteen the average person is mentally mature enough to understand the consequences associated with committing a crime. If a juvenile, over thirteen has the ability and willingness to commit a violent crime they should be tried and punished as an adult. A thirteen year old knows right from wrong.

He (or she) is able to tell whether or not what they are doing is right or wrong. If a juvenile is mature enough to commit a crime, they should be treated as an adult, and punished justly according to the adult law. The difference in age in two people should not determine their punishment if they have committed the same crime under the same or similar pretenses. This would include a juvenile committing murder with malice.

Such a person is no different from an adult who committed the same crime, so they should be treated the same. Juveniles are constantly being exposed to violence through movies, television, and video games. Young children, those age 12 and under, may find it natural to mimic these sources. Teenagers, thirteen and older, however, are beyond the stage of imitation. They no longer imitate actions they see on television or in the movies.

They have reached a level of maturity that allows them to think and act for themselves. These teenagers still need guidance in life, but no longer need someone to hold their hand. A teenager will not be taught anything or learn to take responsibility for their actions, if they are treated with special care and consideration after committing a crime. A thirteen year old has the metal capacity to determine right from wrong, even when it comes to committing violent crimes.

An adult crime deserves an adult punishment, even when the offender is a juvenile. Finally the parents of a juvenile offender should be held responsible only when it is the parentâ€TMs fault the child turned out the way he or she did. Such cases would be if the parents abused the child, extreme neglect, or allowed the child to abuse dangerous substances. If none of the conditions from the previous sentence are met by the parents, the parents cannot be held responsible for something their child did of his or her own accord.

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