Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number Essay

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Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number

During the last thirty years, there has been an increase in violent crimes committed by minors. In many of these cases, the minors are faced with harsher charges than what the law declares, such as being charged as adults. The majority of the United States justifies the age 18 as when an individual is no longer considered a minor. Yet, in the past ten years, the United States has seen the age of individuals being charged as adults drop. For example, in 1993, Nathan Dunlap a seventeen year-old from my hometown Aurora, Colorado was sentenced to the death penalty and eight years later, twelve year-old Lionel Tate of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was charged with life in prison. Currently the United States
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However, during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Supreme Court changed the laws concerning juvenile criminals. The Supreme Court ruled that all courts must change their main interest from helping the juvenile offenders to protecting the accusers. This ruling caused “juvenile courts [to] look and function more and more like adult courts” (Hansen n.p.). Since the landmark cases of Kent vs. The United States, In re Gault, and re Winship, U.S. courts have sentenced juveniles to harsher punishments and rulings, and sent more juvenile offenders to criminal courts (Cothern 3). In the November 2000 report from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an astonishing 6,881 juveniles received the sentence of the death penalty from 1973-2000 (Cothern 5).

But it was in the late 1980’s to 2000’s that lawmakers distinctly changed state bills regarding juvenile offenders due to the crime wave of the 1980’s, John DiIulio’s 1995 theory of superpredators, and the school shootings of the late 1990’s. During the late 1980’s, increased cocaine usage, unemployment rates, and gang memberships caused the dramatic rise of crimes committed by juveniles. With this staggering increase of violence in mind, “John DiIulio, a politics and public affairs professor at Princeton University, predicted that tens of thousands of

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