When Kids Get Life

Good Essays
When Kids Get Life
In the Frontline video “When Kids Get Life” we were introduced to 5 cases in the state of Colorado where teenage boys had been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. After watching the video I found myself struggling to have an objective opinion on the issue presented, mostly because of personal experiences being a victim of childhood abuse and also having a family member (my brother) murdered. I felt the video to be very one sided but I do find myself agreeing with the point the producers were trying to make. I feel that teenagers should have more opportunities at rehabilitation from crimes committed before the age of 21 then those criminals that are convicted after the age of 21. I also feel strongly that when it comes to teenagers and violent crimes that great emphasis needs to be placed on the motive for the crime, for example if there was long term abuse or neglect as well as any substance abuse involved, and what kind of support if any the child has ever had in their lives.
In my opinion the age at which a person should be given life imprisonment is 21. I developed this opinion for three reasons. The first being my personal experience, there were two men involved in my brother’s murder one man was 26 at the time and the other was just barely 18, neither man was sentenced to any long term prison time but of the two the 18 year old has shown greater signs of rehabilitation. I have also had a lot of exposure to the darker side of society and I have seen more improvement come from the younger ‘criminals’ then I have from the older ones. My second reason is the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence regarding brain development and mental processes. According to the Time magazine article ‘What Makes Teens Tick’ Dr. Jay Giedd states that “The very last part of the brain to be pruned or shaped to its adult dimensions is the prefrontal cortex, home of the executive functions.” This area of the brain is the part that allows adults to

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Juveniles shouldn't get sentenced to life without parole for committing a crime at a young age. A punishment is necessary but, sentenced to life without parole at a young age is devastating. Why should they even continue to live? They are young and deserve a second chance to rehabilitate. All we do is just throw these kids in prison and forget about the. What these kids need is treatment especially, those raised in violet environments. Sometimes they grow up unaware of what's good or bad. It may not be there fault. I'm not stating that they don't deceive a punishment, what the need is a punishment but also the support of a person.…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Juveniles Unfit for Trial

    • 427 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Juvenile crime is very wide spread within our country. Juveniles commit crimes every day; whether it’s stealing candy from a store or stealing a life. Those who commit such heinous acts such as taking someone’s life should be sentenced to life in prison or in some cases, death. But the question still stands: what if it is an adolescent who murdered somebody, should they be sentenced to life in prison or even sentenced to walk death row? I believe that juveniles should not receive life in prison but rather an evaluation on their mental health to see why they acted in such a way.…

    • 427 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Juveniles who commit heinous crimes are capable of change, so convicting them as adults and giving them a life sentence doesn't allow them to do so. In Gail Garinger’s, “Juveniles Don't Deserve Life Sentences”, Garinger states the the 79 juveniles in the US who are convicted to a life sentence, are seen as unchangeable and no one cares what becomes of them. But from personal experiences of being a former judge, Garinger had see first hand the juvenile's capacity to turn themselves around. If a juvenile were to be convicted to die in prison, they would be never be given the opportunity to show their change. They should be given an opportunity to show their growth and maturity, but life in prison denies them that. Life in prison denies these young individuals the access to…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Juveniles Serving Life

    • 4252 Words
    • 18 Pages

    This paper will show both sides of the legal issues involved with juveniles serving life sentences, as well as researched data necessary to determine if the offenses committed truly match the punishment. Mitigating factors examined will consist of looking at the juvenile as an individual, their upbringing and societal influences, brain developmental stages, and the consequences and benefits necessary to consider when choosing to send a juvenile to jail for the remainder of their life. Finally, recommendations will be offered to determine the best courses of action for the court systems, who determine their ultimate fate, for your review and consideration.…

    • 4252 Words
    • 18 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Juveniles do not deserve life sentences, because placing them in a facility with adults will only decrease the possibility…

    • 805 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “In a world that demands justice when the unthinkable becomes reality, there are no easy answers when that reality involves minors. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and remains the only nation that, in rare circumstances, will sentence its juveniles to life without parole. Is it a solution? Does it work? Do we care?”…

    • 674 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Juvies

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages

    I feel, as do many others, that our court system has become much too harsh when it comes to punishing the youth. There is a difference when being tough on crime and giving kids punishments that do not fit the crime. More and more of today’s youth are being sent to adult prisons where they cannot be protected. In a juvenile prison, kids are given second chances. There they learn to right their ways and are sent back out in society where hopefully they will become responsible adults. In adult prisons however, its survival of the fittest. There is no protection for those kids and no one to guide them on the right path. Statistics show that kids sentenced to adult prisons are more likely to end up back behind bars within five years of being released or committing suicide.…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In 2010, juveniles committed 8% of homicides. (PBS 2014) When it comes to trying juveniles as adults, many people think that this is too harsh of a punishment for young criminals, but others think that they should get what they deserve. There is a famous saying “do the crime, do the time”. Our society tends to think that juveniles do not have the mental, and physical stabilities that adults do. Over the years, our society has changed their views and started treating children/juveniles as young adults. Some people think that juveniles should be given a second chance since they are our children of the future, but others disagree and believe that juveniles know what they are doing and that they should be tried as adults. Each juvenile case can be different and should be treated accordingly looking at the severity of the crime. Depending on the crime and the severity of the crime can depict what kind of punishment a juvenile can face.…

    • 2034 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Children in Adult Prisons

    • 2227 Words
    • 9 Pages

    In the United States, children are sentenced to adult prisons and given adult prison terms. Many of these children are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Some of the children were 13 and 14 years old. The children are sentenced to die in prison with no regard to age life history, or familial circumstances. Some states sentence children to life without parole for non homicidal offenses. While children must learn to be accountable for their actions, sentencing children to adult prison terms are cruel and insensitive. This is supported by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Giving children adult sentences in adult institutions denies a child the chance for rehabilitation. Also, the majority of children sentenced to life in prison without parole are black, poor, and poorly educated. (Equal Justice Initiative, 2009).…

    • 2227 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Did you know that juveniles accounted for almost half the arrests for serious crimes in the United States in 1974 and for less than one-third in 1983? Did you know that recent trends show an increase in arrests of adolescents for murder, assault, and weapon use? The small number of youth who commit the most serious and violent offenses are becoming more and more violent. I found these statistics directly from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Statistics show that juveniles are not learning from their mistakes because nothing horrific happens to them. They show that juveniles committing crimes at this time turn out to be the adults in prison for life. More disturbingly, statistics show juveniles are rarely ever completely rehabilitated, which is the number one goal of the Juvenile Justice System.…

    • 998 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    On the topic of Juvenile offenders being tried, sentenced and jailed as adults, Researcher and Journalist Mike Allen claims that “report after report have concluded that trying teens as adults does nothing to deter crime -- and that sending teens to adult prison makes them more likely to become repeat offenders”. While I agree that sentencing a youth offender to a term of punishment to be carried out with adult offenders may continue the devastating cycle of violence in our culture, I do not agree that juvenile offenders should receive a smaller sentence or easier punishment on the basis of the affects of cross imprisonment. Instead I would argue that the justice system of America must evolve to adequately evaluate and implement punishment and reform that is conducive to the development of juvenile offenders. Youth crime in America is becoming an unavoidable circumstance that is poisoning our culture and hindering many of our youth from the ability to pursue fulfilled and successful lives. Just as Derrion Albert was an innocent bystander who loss his life to reckless and senseless acts of violence, our world has lost its viable claim of goodness to acts of hate against humanity.…

    • 588 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Ten year old boy murders his family. Does he get out when he turns eighteen, because he knows not what he did? Or does he spend the rest of his life in prison? Sometimes teenagers are tried for crimes as adults and face equal penalties that are subject to adults. This is a controversial issue among americans. There are two groups of people. Those who believe that teenagers under the age of eighteen who commit serious crimes should be held responsible as adults for their actions. Courts are said to be too lenient and the young juveniles are evolving into violent youth criminals; And there are those who suggest that teenagers are less likely to understand the consequences of their actions and more likely to become productive citizens if the criminal justice system continues to treat eighteen year olds as juveniles. Juvenile death penalties and life sentences without parole have increased at an estimated rate of three times higher today than fifteen years ago. The youth are still growing to become fully developed, like an adult. There are many cases where tough decisions have to be made and choices must be made by officials. In my opinion all youths at the age of eighteen or younger should be tried as juveniles and all our juvenile courts need to focus more on rehabilitation for the lost of youth to criminal acts. Age should be a factor, not a determinant on how these youths should be tried.…

    • 2098 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the Frontline documentary entitled “When Kids Get Life,” five young Colorado boys are profiled. There are over 2,200 juveniles who have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, 46 of whom are in the state of Colorado. Jacob Ind, Nathan Ybanez, Erik Jensen, Trevor Jones, and Andrew Medina were the five teenagers profiled in the documentary. Jacob Ind committed double homicide when he killed his mother and step-father in his Colorado home. Nathan Ybanez killed his mother, while Erik Jensen helped with the cover-up and clean-up after the murder had taken place. Trevor Jones was in the process of trying to scam a classmate with a gun exchange when the gun discharged and killed Matt Foley. Andrew Medina was charged and sentenced to felony murder for a carjack involving two accomplices. All five of these teenagers were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Frontline’s overall theme of the documentary was that these murders were justified in these five cases and encouraged the audience to sympathize with these five teens.…

    • 561 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Each year, thousands of adolescents in the United States have been tried and sentenced to life in prison without parole, a punishment that has many of its own controversies. Debates are held on whether or not these kids should be tried and sentenced in the same way that adults are tried and sentenced. Many justices say that since children are emotionally, physically and mentally different than adults, they should never be tried in the same way that adults are. Other justices argue that if these children are capable of committing murder, they are also capable of undergoing the same punishment that an adult would undergo. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole is unconstitutional because it violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Adolescents deserve to be tried differently simply because of the fact that they are not adults, and the legal system shouldn’t treat them as such. Furthermore, juveniles should not be sentenced to life in prison without parole because they have not yet reached their full maturity, they are capable of rehabilitation, and if they were sentenced as adults, they should be given the same privileges as adults in the first place.…

    • 971 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    BUS 330 Week 4 Quiz

    • 371 Words
    • 2 Pages

    “In a world that demands justice when the unthinkable becomes reality, there are no easy answers when that reality involves minors. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and remains the only nation that, in rare circumstances, will sentence its juveniles to life without parole. Is it a solution? Does it work? Do we care?”…

    • 371 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays