When a child commits a crime there are many questions that begin to rise, did they know what they were doing and the effect it would have once the crime was carried out? If an adult does not know what was going on in a juveniles mind, can they still be tried as an adult? These are the arguments that face American society today. Nationally, the statistics bear out the public perception that youth crime is becoming more violent. The number of youths arrested for murder and weapons violations has approximately doubled over the last decade, according to the Justice Department(Glazer, S. ”Juvenile Justice”).
Juvenile delinquency is a violation of the law committed by a person under the age of eighteen that would be considered a crime if it was committed by a person who is eighteen years of age or older. In juvenile law, the criminal process isn’t like that of adults. Instead of being charged with a specific crime, juveniles are usually charged with being a delinquent or engaging in delinquent behavior (Jost, K. ). The case is brought before a juvenile court judge who sentences the delinquent. The objective is to rehabilitate the juvenile. Juveniles have different rights than adults, too.
They don’t have the right to a trial by jury. If a juvenile is accused of committing a very serious offense, such as murder or rape, the District Attorney, with the judge’s permission, may decide to try the offender as an adult (Jost, K. ). The minimum age for a juvenile to be tried as an adult is differs from state to state, but can be as young as fourteen. One should find it extremely hard to prosecute children as adults because it does not in most cases help them to learn from their wrong doing, young people often leave prison more bitter and dangerous than when they went in.
Moreover, recent brain studies show weak impulse control in young people under age 18, prompting some states to reconsider their tough punishments (Katel, P. “Juvenile Justice”). The fact that a child’s brain has weak impulse should be case enough to not charge them as adults. From one’s own experience one should be able to arrive at the realization that most decisions made by a child are decisions of which are made from elements such as peer pressure, emotional changes, and/or physical changes.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that juveniles make choices that are less responsible then those of mature straight thinking adults. On the other hand, in today’s society ‘Young offenders will receive sentences in the adult criminal systems which are harsher and more proportional to their crimes. ’ One would consider this fair because a juvenile that commits a misdemeanor and one that commits a murder should not be given the same amount of jail time.
It’s also about the mindset because if a juvenile has the capabilities to initiate and execute a harsh crime then it is assumed they are held accountable to serve an adult sentencing. Another advantage of juveniles being charged as adults is, the threat of this harsher punishment will result in lowered juvenile crime rates. It should become apparent to juveniles that if they commit a farfetched crime they will definitely do the time considering how big the crime is. Some has to be the example and from those examples juvenile will see the reality in the situation therefore causing lower juvenile crime rates. ?