ERWC, Period 05
February 7, 2013
Juvenile Justice-Final Draft
We See Them as Children, How About the Legal System?
If minors do not share the same rights as adults, then the legal system should not treat them as so. When a crime is committed, fair punishment is what every criminal expects when walking into the court room. However, certain journalists have proven that when juveniles commit a crime they are charged as children to a certain extent and that the legal system is quick to call them adults when they commit crimes that warrant adult punishment. The decision on trying children as adults has been an ongoing controversy, although opposing forces may think otherwise, children should not be tried as adults due to their lack of understanding of the crime committed and the consequences that follow.
Science has been used to mitigate the types and severity of punishments that a juvenile receives. In terms of cognitive development, teens are far from development, discusses Thompson, a professor of neurology at UCLA; in his article “Startling Finds on Teenage Brains”. “The biggest surprise in recent teen-brain research is the finding that a massive loss of brain tissue occurs in the teen years” (4), this loss of brain tissue affects self-control which then leads to violent acts, rash actions, and impulses. This research can be used as evidence that teens are not yet adults in terms of cognitive development, therefore, the legal system should not treat them as such.
The Children’s Defense Organization discusses how society portrays stereotypes based on ethnicity and gender. Each year in the United States approximately 250,000 children are prosecuted, incarcerated, and sentenced as adults. The CDO states that teenage girls are disproportionately arrested for status offenses and only status offenses (11), some may argue that this is accurate but others can prove that girls do commit violent crimes. The CDO also states that African...