Should People Less Than Eighteen Years Old (Minors/Juveniles/Adolescents) Ever Be Tried and Sentenced as Adults?

1516 Words Dec 12th, 2011 7 Pages
Should people less than eighteen years old (minors/juveniles/adolescents) ever be tried and sentenced as adults?
The legislation of trying and sentencing youth criminals under adult justice system has been a hot topic of debate. Supporters of tough laws on insist the need to enforce harsh penalties to uphold justice. The practice of treating youth criminals as adults since the 1990s is a result of the steep rise in youth crimes. However, youth advocates argue that tough laws should not be applied to youth offenders anymore. The core issue of the controversy is whether, because adolescents are biologically and mentally different from adults, they should be treated differently. For minor offenses such as property crime in which nobody is
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HENG, SIN YI

be seen in the article “Jailing Juveniles” (2008, p.127) revealing the danger of juveniles in adult facilities. Because youths are often isolated from other adult prisoners to prevent sexual and physical abuse, they are more vulnerable to various mental disorders. Moreover, suicide ideation of youth offenders in adult jails is 36 times higher than that of those in juvenile correctional facilities. As a result, youth advocates oppose treating youth offenders as adults. However, violent juvenile criminals should be punished for their misdeeds. Hunter (2010, p.101) insists that age should not be an excuse to oppose incarceration of youth criminals in adult prisons as a punishment for their crimes. In Hunter’s opinion, “cold-blooded murderers” like Jordan Brown, who killed his father’s fiancée while she was sleeping must be punished to the maximum extent of the law although Brown was only 11 years old when the murder took place. In her opinion, tough laws are crucial for upholding justice for victims and victims’ families who suffered because of these juvenile crimes. Indeed, the culprits should not be easily forgiven to make sure that justice is served for the victims and victims’ families. Juvenile criminals have to bear the responsibilities for their actions regardless of their age. The purpose of tough punishment for violent youth offenders is to let them learn and realize

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