Juvinile Justice

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“Juvenile Crime, Adult Time”

Anthelia Morales
03/18/13
AJ-10
Cindy Bevaven

Should juveniles be tried as adults? Much controversy exists on the question of whether a juvenile criminal should be punished to the same extent as an adult. The growing trend in the United States to “get tough” on juveniles, who commit crimes, has resulted in a surging number of minors being tried as adults, and they are being sent to adult prisons. Many believe if you commit an adult crime, you should do adult time. However, juveniles by definition are not adults, and therefore should not be tried as such. America’s legal system says that the mental competence of a minor, which is anyone under the age of eighteen, has not fully developed, and most stat laws define a juvenile as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for there criminal acts. Opponents argue that juvenile offenders should not be tried as adults, and should be sent to juvenile detention centers where they would have a chance at education and rehabilitation. I do agree, and also believe that charging a minor with an adult crime will do more harm than good. Supporters of juvenile offenders being tried as adults say, that if they are old enough to commit an adult crime, then they are old enough to be held accountable. They argue that age should not be a determining factor in sentencing a juvenile as an adult. The Supreme Court’s treatment of Juveniles has changed over time to reflect advances in understanding the unique characteristics of juvenile crimes, and to ensure fair treatment under the law. The juvenile justice system was created over one-hundred years ago, to protect and rehabilitate young criminals. However, because of the epidemic of youth committing violent crimes (which began in the 1970s) the public demanded a “get tough” approach. Because of the public outcry, federal and state legislatures lowered the minimum age and expanded the offenses for which youths could be prosecuted in...
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