January 30, 2011
Should Juveniles be Treated as Adults
Most young people in today’s world want to be considered as adults. But, they want the role and responsibilities of being adults to apply to certain situations when they want it to. Under the Georgia Legal Ages Law, 18 (§39-1-1) (2011), the age of adulthood begins at age eighteen. America has always described the children as being the future, our greatest resource, as well as the hope to make tomorrow better. But, for a lot of Americans, children represent fear and terror. They are a symbol of violence, lacking self-control, without morals or ethics and a failure to most of the families who raised them. They have no respect for human life or each other (Brown,1998). Since they so desire to be adults, should they be treated like adults? This paper will discuss the reasons why juveniles should and should not be treated as adults. Most adults have a fear of the crime and violence that has been caused by juveniles and young Americans. This fear exists as one of America’s greatest concerns. Fear of the capabilities that young people today has caused a lot of people to think twice about the lifestyle they are living. Some have decided to enroll in some kind of defense classes, install home and business security systems, and purchase guns for protection. Even within the justice system, preachers, and politicians alike are seeking for a justice system that will punish and prevent juveniles from continuing to commit the same crimes as previously committed. In the past punishing for juveniles has been minor, because a lot of people feel that to treat a juvenile as an adult is way out of line. Treating juveniles as criminals just as adults are treated, sending them to criminal court, giving them a fee to pay, and labeling them as criminals are effective methods for society to use to show them that they cannot commit adult cries and get away with it. This method can allow society to show that they will not continue to put up with youths that do not want to be controlled and to show them that they are responsible for their actions by having to pay retribution. Some citizens, however, feel that juveniles should not be treated as adults because when they go to jail they become victims of homosexual rape and other type violent acts by hardened adult criminals. The law presently allows for some juveniles to be locked up for their crimes, especially
repeat offenders. Before the 17th century, juveniles were treated as adults but different only in size. They had to give in account for their behavior as adults. They were considered to be minor or miniature adults who were capable of serving the same punishment as adult offenders who committed the same act. Juveniles were considered to be children up until the age of five. After the 17t century church and community leaders felt that children were weak and innocent and needed to be guided, protected, and around adults. This led to an extension of the age for children making education a priority.
During the 18th century children under the age of seven were considered not stable enough to commit crimes or even capable of having criminal intent. Children older than seven but under 14 were also considered incapable of committing crimes unless it could be proven that they were aware of the difference between right and wrong. At that time, juveniles were considered to be adults at the age of 14 and were capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong. Therefore, they could be punished or sentence to jail or prison time with adults. As time passed, special correctional institutions or detention centers were being built for juveniles in the early 1800s because of the belief that they should be separate from adults. In 1899 the United States established the first juvenile court based on the idea that juveniles who committed crimes should be...