How Old is Old Enough?
Should juveniles receive the death penalty for murder? In my opinion there is no yes or no answer to this question it all depends on your personal views and beliefs. Juveniles have been executed in the United States as far back as 1642. That first execution took place in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. There have been 361 people put to death for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18 in United States. There are other countries that execute juveniles, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Most countries do not believe in the practice of executing juveniles. The United States abolished the execution of juvenile offenders under the age of 18 in 2005. The case before the United States Supreme Court was Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), wherein the Supreme Court ruled that "the execution of people who were under 18 at the time of their crimes violates the federal constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment." This was a turning point in our country, and there were plenty of debates from people that did not agree with the ruling, and others who felt the ruling was the absolute right thing to do. In this paper I will try to debate why the death penalty for juveniles should be abolished and why Juveniles, who commit crimes like adults, should be treated and punished like adults. Those who favor keeping the death penalty for juveniles make the following arguments: •State legislatures should determine whether or not juveniles should be executed for capital crimes, not the courts. •Juries should determine the culpability of juveniles on a case-by-case basis, on the nature of the crime and the maturity level of the individual juvenile. •In a society, which is experiencing an increase in violence by juveniles, banning the death penalty would remove a much-needed deterrent. Those who oppose the death penalty for juveniles make these arguments: •Executing children is immoral and uncivilized.
•Scientific research shows that juveniles are underdeveloped and immature, particularly in the areas of the brain that dictate reason, impulse control and decision-making, and therefore should not be held culpable. •A high percentage of juveniles on death row have suffered from mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, drug addiction, abandonment and severe poverty. •With the exception of Somalia, the United States is the only country in the world that still executes juveniles. I believe that the death penalty for juveniles should not be legal. Studies have shown that a teen's brain is not completely developed and that is the reason that they make such poor judgments. Juveniles who have been abused or come from broken homes may get into trouble because of their harsh backgrounds. Attempts should be made to rehabilitate young offenders, if at all possible. I think death penalty for juveniles is an extreme form of punishment for juveniles. Young as they are, they have a great chance at turning their lives around for the better. They can still change with proper guidance. Other studies have shown that the abuse and neglect adolescents experienced as children can create aggressive behavior. It is common knowledge that growing up in conditions that adversely affect children's emotional and physical growth can convince them that violence is acceptable. Therefore, it is unjust to hold those children completely at fault. Sure, they are responsible for their actions to a certain extent, but other factors including parental influence and the entertainment industry may also be liable for violent behavior. I do believe if parents were made to face consequences for the acts of their children it would reduce the number of juveniles ending up in the prison system. To allow one person one punishment and another person an alternative punishment for the same crime is not fair and destroys the structure of a society. One could argue that because juveniles know they can get away with crime because...
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