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Should Juvenile Youth offenders Be Tried and Punished as Adults?

Essay by   •  June 27, 2011  •  Essay  •  934 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,118 Views

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"Should Juvenile Youth Offenders Be Tried and Punished As Adults?"

In today's society, violent crimes committed by juveniles have become a vastly rising epidemic. In retaliation, several states passed "get tough on crime" laws stipulating that children under 17 could be tried as adults for committing adult crimes. Charging youth offenders as adults has sparked several opposing views regarding the justice system's focus on the rehabilitation of violent youth offenders. Those that oppose of this law will argue that juvenile offenders should not be tried as adults, because they do not possess the capabilities of understanding the consequences of the crime committed, or that their motivation was stemmed from bad influences such as: the media, internet, television, video games, and even their surroundings. Supporters of the law believe that "adult crime calls for adult time." Meanwhile, the conflicting viewpoints as to whether or not the youth offenders should be tried and punished as adults has created a dilemma that has placed the juvenile justice system between a rock and a hard place. However, it will become evident that treating youth offenders as adults is based on the magnitude of the crime, and the age of the offender.

"Should juvenile offenders be tried and punished as adults?" is a controversial question that has been debated by society for decades. However, the age at which children should be held accountable for their actions is the actual underlying issue. For example, Nathaniel Abraham (Detroit Michigan), age 11; was convicted and served 9 years for killing 18-year-old Ronnie Greene Jr., a random stranger, while shooting at trees with friends. According to legal experts, Nathaniel Abraham is the youngest person in U.S. modern history to be charged as an adult with first degree murder. However, he was convicted on a lesser charge of second degree murder, which I feel was appropriate based on the evidence in the case. That very decision caused chaos within the legal system. Critics say that the "get tough on crime" law does not work because they tend to put kids in an adult prison with adult criminals. As a result, they enter society more dangerous than if they had been sent to juvenile facilities. However, supporters of the law believe that young criminals are already hardened offenders and should be put in adult prison. Was Nathaniel's punishment conducive to the crime that he committed?" My opinion is yes, I think that his punishment was suitable for the crime he committed, due to the fact that his maturity level was not at a point where he could decipher right from wrong, and the shooting was an allegedly a mistake.

Another example would be, the case of Kip Kinkel (Springfield Oregon), age 15, convicted for fatally shooting his parents at their home, and the next day, killing two of his classmates, and injuring 25 others at a Springfield, Oregon High School. "Was Kip Kinkel mentally ill?" The defense presented a

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