Why kids shouldn’t be sentenced to life in prison.
This paper is going to bring to attention to some things that are a very sensitive topic to many of those on both sides of the argument. Why should or shouldn’t children be sentenced to live in prison. Of course this is a difficult decision for many people involved with these crimes. For the prosecutor he is trying to make sure the victims of the families are trying to get justice to some sort of a degree. At the same time we can prove the underdevelopment of an adolescent’s brain is not developed then that of an adults. But what should we do. Should we allow a child “get off the hook” for committing such hanis crimes? For some it might be “getting off the hook” while others for staying in prion is too severe of a punishment. So what should we do as a country or as a state? These are some very difficult questions that lawyers have been fighting for. There really is no way of having an equal punishment where both sides are happy. Restitution cannot be made for the loss of life. Or can it? This is also an interesting argument because of the age of the children. Obviously there is no way to pay back for the loss of live but what about those who are only involved in the crime but didn’t commit the murder. In some states those that are involved get the same punishment of life in jail. Is there a way that those involved in the crime and pay back for their mistakes? These are some of the questions that we will visit throughout my paper. From the beginning there is no right way of dealing with these difficult issues but is Jail the answer for dealing with these children. Will sending them to jail teach the lessons for the rest of their lives? Some say that it is what is needed to keep them off the streets for the mistakes. For others they have made some very serious mistakes but to be put to jail for accidents because they didn’t know any better is too harsh of a punishment. These are some of the topics we’ll be discussing as you read. Since this is very opinion based there is no right or wrong answer but there might be something we can be doing better for both sides of the argument. Factual Background:
When it comes to the development of the brain we know certain things that cannot be argued. Until we have more resources so we can begin to understand why our brain works in the patterns that it does not. We are able to prove that as we get old our brain develops more. But specifically that we understand people’s reactions more. When we are 14 we tend to think that people are angrier then we really are. But when we are 18 we use our frontal cortex more and we will understand the person may in fact not be angry at all. We also have the ability to think about whether a person is even angry or if just the way the people are talking is. “Behaviorally, adolescents corrected fewer errors in incompatible trials, and with increasing age there was greater post-error slowing.” (Hogan, Vargha-Khadem, Kirkham, & Baldeweg, Nov2005)
There are many studies that show that the development of the brain continues until the mid-twenties. The studies examine how culpable a person can be when the brain is still undergoing development. Of course there is a question of how a person will be responsible for their actions if there brain isn’t developed enough to understand what they are doing is right or wrong. We have enough understanding at a certain age on whether or not we want to listen to our parents. We ask the courts to make a decision of what we should follow. It’s up to the court to come up with what is constitutionally right when it comes to sentencing kids to life imprisonment without the possible of parole or possibility of parole. Many believe that studies show enough reform or that there isn’t enough. The ones that feel that there is enough reform believe that life without parole is a cruel...
Cited: Center, N. Y. (2001). Facts for Teens. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from National Youth Prevention Resource Center: http://www.herkimercounty.org/content/Departments/View/11:field=services;/content/DepartmentServices/View/68:field=documents;/content/Documents/File/122.PDF
Fagan, J. (2008). Juvenile Crime and Criminal Justice: Resolving Border Disputes. Future of Children, 18(2) p81-118.
Hogan, A. M., Vargha-Khadem, F., Kirkham, F. J., & Baldeweg, T. (Nov2005). Maturation of action monitoring from adolescence to adulthood. Developmental Science, Vol. 8 Issue 6, p525-534. 10p. 3 Charts, 7 Graphs.
Jennings, J. C. (2010). JUVENILE JUSTICE, SULLIVAN, AND GRAHAM: HOW THE SUPREME COURT 'S DECISION WILL CHANGE THE NEUROSCIENCE DEBATE. Duke Law & Technology Review, p1-10. 10p.
Mears, B. (2012, June 25). Justices rule for underage killers sentenced to life without parole. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from CNN Justice: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/25/justice/scotus-juvenile-life-sentences/
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