Juvenile Death Penalty Essay

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Murder Pages: 4 (1340 words) Published: July 10, 2011
Juvenile Death Penalty
One of the most controversial questions in the juvenile justice system today is, "Should the death penalty be applied to juveniles?”. A lot of people think that the death penalty for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment and should only be used for adults. The crimes that juveniles commit are as dangerous and as violent as adult crimes. People argue that the adolescent brain does not mature until the late teens or early twenties, and that death penalty should not be the resolution. Some studies show that childhood abuse or neglect can causes the child to commit crimes when they grow to adulthood. Debate about the use of the death penalty for juveniles has grown more intense because of the crimes they are committing. In this paper I will talk about the history, why people oppose of the juvenile death penalty and why others are in favor of juvenile death penalty. Since the death penalty was enforced there have been approximately 20,000 people have been legally executed in the United States in the past 350 years. Thomas Graunger, the first juvenile known to be executed in America, was tried and found guilty of bestiality in 1642 in Plymouth Colony, MA (Hale, 1997). (1) Thomas Graunger was executed because he had some type of sexual activity between a non-human animal. Since 1642, at least 366 juvenile offenders have been executed, an average of almost exactly one per year. (1) These 366 juvenile offender executions have been imposed by 38 states and the federal government, and they constitute less than 2% of the total of about 20,000 confirmed American executions since 1608. Since the first execution and now there have been a lot of laws that have been approved by the Supreme Court that have made it harder to have a get a juvenile convicted to the death penalty. Currently, 38 States authorize the death penalty; 23 of these permit the execution of offenders who committed capital offenses prior to their 18th birthdays. (1) The...
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