Friday, October 26, 2007

Juvenile Justice- Should Severe Punishments Be Used on our Youth?

The problem of juvenile delinquencies is a huge issue in America. Although children should be held to a different standard than the average adult, the question lies in how different of a standard should there be and how much punishment the young should be allowed to endure. When our nation’s children commit catastrophic crimes such as the VA Tech shooting or even something much more minor, how do we punish them? Some sources suggest that punishment may need to be tougher. However, there are those that think the punishment for juveniles needs to be much less strict and more of teaching forms. How to deal with juvenile crimes, both minor and major, in comparison to how an adult would be treated is a major issue of juvenile justice. Whatever is decided and debated, it is obvious that whatever the United States is currently doing is not working to stop of the school shootings and juvenile crimes. Personally, I believe that the juvenile delinquents need to be taught and educated about the rights and wrongs of their actions and decisions. In addition, should our nation's youth be allowed to even have the option to face death row? Are they old enough to have such a serious consequence? These are the questions we must ask when wondering what is best for the nation, as well as the nation's youth. While punishment is necessary, it can and shold be adjusted in respect to adult standards.


Jan said...

I agree with you on the idea that adolescent criminals shouldn't held to the same standards as adult offenders. I feel that children, especially in the cases of teenagers, are too easily influenced by their peers and have yet to develop effective coping mechanisms to deal with their emotions. The idea that the death penalty should be allowed as an option to children under the age of eighteen is ludicrous, these children are no where near self aware enough to fully comprehend the consequences of their own actions. I think that there are much more effective methods of punishment to be found, such as therapy in a secure environment. I feel that if we really want to discourage our youth from committing violent crimes we need to be much more careful with the types of video games we place into their hands. No wonder fifteen year old boys are shooting up their high schools, they have been desensitized for years by watching movies and video games that glorify violence. We should place our energy and efforts towards fighting for less violence in child focused entertainment rather than debating on whether or not these confused and hurt children should die for their crimes.

Imran said...

This is such a gray area in prosecution. How do you charge certain crimes? Does the character of the kid affect that at all? You often hear discussions or arguments in the news about whether a teenager should be charged as an adult or juvenile. The location or setting of the offense also plays into this issue greatly, which i do not agree with at all. There needs to be some sort of nationwide guidelines to adult/juvenile classifications. I do not think it is right for the state in which one commits a crime to greatly affect his or her punishment.

I also do not buy into the video game argument at all. American society has glorified violence and machismo throughout its history, from gunslinging cowboys to vigilantism. I think that blaming violent video games is a complete cop out on placing the blame where it truly lies, with parenting. Where are parents to teach these kids wrong from right. If you are learning more from a video game than your mother or father whose fault is that?? Parents also have the responsibility to control what sort of content their children are able to see; it would be ridiculous to impose federal regulations on this type of thing. There needs to be more focus on proper parenting. The government should have more important issues to discuss that violent video games.

Haley said...

This is such a great question that you pose. Is it fair to distribute an adolescent with a similar punishment as an adult? I do not think it is right for the courts to do so. For the sole reason that these children do not even have all of their rights yet. Some children are placed in environments where they are not taught right from wrong. I think it would be interesting to look at statistics and see what percentage of the children in juvenile detentions are in foster homes, from divorced families, etc. Children are not done growing yet, that is why they are to be brought up by adult figures, but when the people who are suppose to be shaping their lives are not present how are they to know right from wrong? As wrong as their actions might be how can you not help but think they are acting out because they are trying to reach for help?

VEnglish1 said...

Juvenile Justice is a very interesting issue that can be debated on many levels. Truthfully speaking I don’t know where my position lies in this case. While I agree that Juvenile's are still learning and may not realize the impact of the decisions they make, I feel that at times these so called juveniles are committing heinous crimes that are often worse than those committed by adults.
I completely agree that we should prevent crimes committed by juveniles by educating them. We live in a world that constantly encourages violence and aggression. Video games, television shows, films, and even music has an influence on juvenile actions. We need more programs that educate children on right and wrong. While the difference between right and wrong may seem like common sense, we maybe surprised at what these children do not know.
Also the background of the child can also influence whether he or she commits the crime. Thus if children were all educated in the same manner, there would be no partiality toward one child over the other.

Messi said...

Interesting topic considering there has been a series of catastrophes caused by Juveniles. I agree with Jan, adolescents at this age deal with a large variety of emotions. There are psychological explanations for a lot of the emotional and thoughts that the young experience. At this point I believe that they should not be tried as adults. I'm interested in how adolescents are tried in different communities and if their punishments are reasonable for the conditions they were under.