Should Children Be Tried as Adults

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CJUS 230. Professor Jennifer DeBoer | Juvenile Justice | Should Children be Tried as Adults? |

Rick Penor

Juvenile Justice: Should children be tried as adults? Are youth capable of fully understanding the consequences that their actions may cause or are they mentally incapable of processing that information? Juveniles commit crimes just like adults. Sometimes the crimes they commit are heinous, but does that mean they are no longer a child? I believe there may be special cases when a youth should be tried as an adult, but in most cases, they need to be processed through the juvenile justice system. In the last part of the 18th century, children under the age of seven were regarded as being incapable of
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In 1980, congress added an amendment that required juveniles be removed from adult facilities. The 1980’s and 1990’s have had some significant changes in the treatment of juvenile offenders. States have added to their purpose clauses of juvenile code phrases such as “Hold juveniles accountable for criminal behavior”, “Provide effective deterrents”, and “Impose punishment consistent with the seriousness of the crime”. When a child commits a violent crime, are they automatically considered an adult? Or is the child incapable of fully understanding their actions? Studies suggest that the prefrontal lobe of the brain, which many scientists believe plays a crucial role in inhibiting inappropriate behavior, may not be fully developed until the age of twenty. Many experts also believe that children do not possess the moral or intellectual capacity to fully understand the consequences for their actions. They argue that youth lack the capacity to be defendants at an adult trial. Many experts contend that rehabilitation in a juvenile detention center is more beneficial for the youth and for society compared to releasing someone who has spent their childhood and young adult life in the prison system. A youth coming out of the juvenile rehabilitation system is less likely to commit a crime than someone coming out of the adult prison system.
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