Juvenile Justice

Topics: Prison, Death Penalty, Adolescence Pages: 2 (740 words) Published: May 5, 2011
Juvenile Justice
According to the article “Many Kids Called Unfit for Adult Trial,” 200,000 juveniles a year are being tried as adults in the United States. They are sentenced to life in prison and even the death penalty. But is that what is really best for them? Putting these teenagers in prison for life gives them no chance to change their lives around and learn from what they’ve done. I strongly believe that adolescents should not be sentences as adults but still deserve a huge punishment.

Teenagers should not be tried as adults because teenager’s brains are not fully developed as adult brains are. In his article “Startling Finds on Teenage Brains,” Paul Thompson states, “The biggest surprise in recent teen-brain research is the finding that a massive loss of brain tissue occurs in the teen years.” How are these teens supposed to understand what they are doing if they are not fully mature and aren’t mentally stable? Thompson also says that, “Brain cells and connections are only being lost in the areas controlling impulses, risk-taking, and self-control.” These children are not aware of how serious their actions are and therefore, should be helped immediately.

These kids who are being tries as adults are not mentally capable of defending themselves. According to Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University psychology professor, “It is a violation of constitutional right to be a defendant in a criminal proceeding when you are not competent to defend yourself.” These juveniles being tried as adults do not understand the proceedings. They don’t recognize the risks in different choices and are less likely to think about long term consequences. For example, Robert Acuna, a high school student from Baytown, Texas, was given the death sentence for killing two elderly neighbors. In the article “Supreme Court to Rule on Executing Young Killer,” Ms. Magee said, “He was very nonchalant. He laughed at inappropriate things. He still didn’t quite get the magnitude of...
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