Should juveniles be charged as adults in murder cases?

The current situation of youth violence in the United States is getting worse by the minute. Students beating up other students, school children bringing deadly weapons, extorting money from other people are just common scenes in these youth today. These misguided youths are involved in many activities that are illegal, dangerous, and definitely not fit for the youth to do. Some end up hurting or killing somebody, and some end up getting killed. The dilemma would then lie on the hands of the adults that should be guiding them, whether to punish them accordingly, regardless of their age, or still consider their age and not give adult punishments.

Some oppose charging these students with cases which are for adults. They say that these are detrimental for the child’s future, because charging them as such takes away a good future for him. For cases such as murder, some say that these happens because they haven’t fully understand what lies ahead that’s why they have committed such act. They considered being at the confusion stage and their acts justify that. Even in the case of murder, they shouldn’t be charged as an adult and receive adult punishment. They are saying that since they are young, the authorities could at least lessen the weight or burden of the punishment, or even, give a separate punishment such as rehabilitation or psychological treatments.

These people say that even if it was taking the life away of another person, it was still done by a person which is not in the right frame of mid. They oppose convicting them because it might just worsen the case of the juvenile, since he is still at the period of development. They say that it could drive him to be wilder and much more dangerous if they would subject him to a situation which is fitted for adults. They don’t look at the crime committed by the juvenile himself, but instead they are looking at the situation of the doer of the crime.

Looking closely, we could clearly see that it is somewhat reasonable to think that juveniles really are different from adults. But still, what they have committed is way more that any adults can do. Murder is murder – it is the taking away of the life of a person, not just giving physical pain or damage, but permanently ceasing the life out of someone. They say that they are not in the right frame of mind, since they are still young and haven’t had any grasp of the future. But the reality is, would someone who commits murder be in the right frame of mind, wherein the society we are living in is a life-preserving environment, condemning any acts of murder as a grave sin. If we are to pardon or let these juveniles get their way, we might as well let every murderers be given a “rehabilitation punishment” so that they would still have another chance in life to redeem themselves.

The punishment for murder is usually a life sentence without parole. Some people see it as a very cruel decision, since there is no hope of redemption for the juveniles, since they still have a lot of time to live in this world. These juveniles are said to be living a life in prison, with no hope of getting out and living in the free world, a great hopeless life inside the penitentiary or prison confines. But analyzing what they have done, there punishment is way lighter that what they did to someone else’s life. They killed them, an act considerably way unforgivable than just putting them in a prison cell for the rest of their lives. They took the right to live away from the person. If we are to base the morality of the punishments they receive to the mistakes they committed, putting them in prison still considers their right to life, and wherein what they did violate any law known to man, and that is deliberately taking the life away from another person. If the punishment would really have to correspond to what they did, then they should be receiving a death sentence, hence they are still given the right to live, and living in prison is considerably better than dying.

The mindset of these juveniles is not to be questioned whether they are too young to understand things. Ever since we learned to speak, the environment has been teaching us about what is right and wrong. We have our parents, teachers, and the society to tell us that murder is a crime that violates every right of a person, which taking away another person’s life is an unforgivable act. So we must not question whether these juveniles have a full grasp of right and wrong. They know what murder is, and that their age doesn’t should not excuse them from getting punished accordingly. And if ever they are to blame someone, they are to blame themselves, because they always had a choice, whether to do that murderous act or not. We are given the intellect so that we could decide for ourselves. Our mind is a powerful tool that could resist any persuasion, and that we should use this tool to guide us in our actions.

Murder is really murder, and as long as we don’t punish the people who commit these murderous acts accordingly, more and more people would develop a mentality that they could repeat such an act because the society tolerates it. We must consider putting an adult charge on these juveniles, especially when they have committed murder. A life in prison is better than death, and anybody could agree to that.

References:

An Act To Amend the Maine Juvenile Code. (2003).   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://janus.state.me.us/legis/ros/lom/LOM121st/4Pub151-200/Pub151-200-29.htm

Should the news media reveal the name of a juvenile murder suspect before the police have charged him? (2005).   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://www.gradethenews.org/feat/makethecall/juvenile.htm

Lock up the violent juveniles. (2006).   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://lddebate.org/exchange/display/8/

Fox, J. A. (2007). A too-harsh law on juvenile murder.   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/01/25/a_too_harsh_law_on_juvenile_murder/

Kelley, P. M. (2006). Teaching Juveniles How to Plan for The Future.   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1994/1/94.01.04.x.html

Moffeit, M., & Simpson, K. (2006). Teen crime, adult time.   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://www.denverpost.com/teencrime/ci_3636564

Ross, D. (2007). Should newspapers name juveniles charged as adults?   Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://www.napavalleyregister.com/blogs/dan_ross/?p=13

 

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