Reaction Paper 1

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Reaction Paper 1
April 11, 2013
Laura Rognerud

After reading “Do Juvenile Killers Deserve Life behind Bars” and doing some research, I side with Charles Dutton; “There is no point in destroying a second life if that life is actually redeemable”. There are many reasons why juveniles do not deserve life in prison without parole.

It is not right to hold children and adolescents who are underage to adult standards. Children do not have the rights or responsibilities that adults do. At that time in their lives, children’s brains are not fully developed so we recognize their inability to make decisions. Barbe Stamps makes a good point in her article on juvenile punishment when she states, “We don’t say, ‘This is a very important election, so let’s let the kids vote.’ We don’t say, ‘This is a very important war so let’s give our children weapons and send them to fight.’ So why do we say, ‘This case is different and this kid deserves to be treated like an adult and locked away in a prison?’”

We should be protecting our children, not taking our vengeance out on them. Punishment is a failed strategy of changing behavior, especially at a younger age. Transferring children from juvenile court to adult court does not decrease juvenile crime, it actually increases crime and there is research to prove that. Children are positioned to reform, so we should give them the chance to. Putting children in prison is a bad environment for them and could lead to a life of criminal behavior.

There are numerous cases where criminal delinquents transform their lives for the better. Charles Dutton, being one of those cases, a drop-out who engaged in fights and crimes on the streets is now an award-winning actor and producer. Or Raphael Johnson, a 17 year old boy who had shot and killed a classmate, is now a successful, respectable man after starting a community policing program in Detroit. Imagine where these men would be today if no one would have given them the...
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