Responsible for the Crimes of Their Children

Topics: Crime, Juvenile delinquency, Criminology Pages: 6 (1840 words) Published: September 28, 2008
Responsible for the Crimes of their Children

How can someone who does not commit a crime get charged for the crime committed. This is starting to happen around the country with parents getting charged for the crimes of their children. Although parents are responsible for raising and teaching their children what is right or wrong, parents should not be held responsible for the crimes of their children because they did not commit the crime and if they are not present at the crime scene, how can they stop their child from committing such an act. It violates a parent’s constitutional rights to charge them with the crime, and doesn’t serve as a deterrent to juvenile crime. Children that come from great homes and have great parents still commit crimes which can’t be stopped by their parents. Unless the crime committed by the juvenile is because of abuse or neglect than the parent should be held responsible.

Throughout all time there has been delinquency. It may not have had the delinquency label, but it still existed. In Old England around 1600’s children at the age of seven were tried, convicted, and punished as adults. They received no special treatment. Juvenile crime is mentioned as far back as ancient Samaria, where laws concerning juvenile offenders first appeared in written form. It wasn’t until the 1900’s when juvenile crime became a big problem. Then in 1994 in St. Clair, Michigan, came the first law called “Parental Responsibility Ordinance” which charged parents for the crimes of their children(The Harsh Beginnings).

Juvenile crime has only been getting worse over the years. Law makers around the country are trying to seek a certain law that would stop or reduce the number of Wessels 2

juvenile crime arrests. Most states and or cities have a law that holds parents responsible for their children’s crimes. The problem with that is many parents think these laws are going too far with parental responsibilities.

Sometimes the parents should be held responsible for the crimes if they know their child is committing, and doing nothing to stop them. However charging parents for their child’s crime is wrong. It’s the child’s fault if he or she gets caught for committing a crime. Parents should know where and what their kid is doing at all time, but they can’t always stop a child from doing something wrong. Therefore parents should raise their children to have quality morals and if are good parents and their child commits crime they should not be held responsible. It would be up to the judge to decide if they are good parents or bad parents.

One such parental responsibility act in Silverton Oregon exists. Lawmakers in Silverton wanted to reduce juvenile crime. They decided to start charging parents with the crime committed by their child. In one case a lady got charged because her son stole some cologne. She was found not guilt because friends, family, and doctors testified on her behalf the she was a good parent. So the judge decided to let her go(Blackmun).

That was a perfect case where the judge decided that she was a good parent. That is the only fair way to decide if a parent is a good or bad parent. That is exactly how every case should go. Parents should be charged for the crime if they are in some way responsible for the crime.

Parents are also being charged for their childs truancy. In Baltimore at Canton Wessels 3

Middle School eight parents went to court because they repeatedly failed to get their children to campus on time. Four of the parents were found guilty. When each could get up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine or even lose custody they realized the severity of their offense. A National Trend: In Kalamazoo, local law enforcement groups said that they plan to use part of two federal grants amounting to almost $600,000 to fight truancy, which Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney James Gregart called “a gateway to more serious forms of delinquent...

Bibliography: Belluck, Pam. “Fighting Youth Crime, Some States Blend Adults and Juvenile Justice.” New York Times Feb. 11, 1998. P.1 col 5. ProQuest 1 Dec. 2007.
Blackmun, Maya. “Parental Responsibility Laws.” Los Angeles Times. 16 Oct. 1995. SIRS. Portage District Library. 11 Nov. 2007.
Dominguez, Alex. “Schools Make Parents Pay for Kids Truancy.” Kalamazoo Gazette 26 Jan. 1999, sec A:2. 2 Dec. 2007. - primary source.
Robinson, Matthew. “Juvenile Crime in Fatherless Homes, Public Schools.” What Causes School Violence? Investors Business Daily. 12 Nov. 1997. AOL. 5 Dec. 2007.
“Should Parents be Responsible for Crimes of their Children?” Jet. 27 May. 1996. General OneFile. Gale. Portage District Library. 11 Nov. 2007.
“The Harsh Beginnings.” 13 November 1998. [online] AOL. 4 Dec. 2007.
Williams, Gurney III. “Authoritative Parenting.” The American Legion Magazine.
(Jan. 1997):32.Rpt. In Family. Vol.5. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. Boca Raton, Fla. Social Issues Series Inc. 1990 Art.81. Portage District Library. 5 Dec.
2007. -primary source
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