Criminal justice within the United States of America has in recent times been receiving heavy amounts of flack due to the unsettled case of whether or not it is just to sentence children convicted of major felonies to life without parole in state prisons. In the current state of criminal justice concerning minors, children as young as thirteen years of age are deemed eligible to be sentenced to life in prison without parole. According to The American Civil Liberties Union, an estimated 2,570 children between the ages of thirteen to seventeen are currently serving time in federal or state prisons with adults as a result of this policy. Much concern and weariness has arisen from this policy with many arguing that children of the ages of thirteen
Most of the time, the system has proven itself to be unsuccessful in dealing with juvenile crimeMost often, the system is unsuccessful. “There are kids who are five times more likely to be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted in adult prisons than in juvenile facilities. The risk of suicide is likewise much higher for juveniles in adult jails.”(How to reduce crime Pg 3). When juveniles are sent to jail, they are still relatively impressionable from people in the prison, and may go back into crime after they’re released, hindering rehabilitation and just creating another violent criminal in the world. The court sentencing the criminal is also at
In Contrast to Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” stories of juveniles being tried as adults, Jason Zeidenberg in the article “The Risks Juveniles Face When They Are Incarcerated with Adults” strongly emphasizes the dangers and consequences that juveniles face when they are tried as adults. Zeidenberg states the consequences of juveniles being raped, assaulted, committing suicide and the effects of being victimized. Children who are housed in the same facility as Adults is not a good idea nor a good mix, according to Zeidenberg a “15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in Ohio by a deputy after she was placed in an adult jail for a minor in
In the 2012 documentary Poor Kids, children living in the Quad Cities reflect on their lives in poverty. Each story is different but similar in many ways. At the time of the film, there were sixteen million children reported who were affected by poverty. The film also stated that one in five children were living in poverty. With large quantities of children being affected by poverty, the important to understand how these children are dealing with the factors of poverty.
The documentary “Poor Kids”, it shows the story of the lives of three families who struggle to make ends meet every day. These families lack the resources such as money to buy food and other every day necessities, pay for the rent, and the parents not having a job or not having an unstable employment. I felt heavy hearted after watching this documentary because I can imagine myself in their situation. I feel blessed that I did not have to go through what these families are going through. It is hard to imagine how it feels like to have no money or little money to buy food, clothes and other things, pay the utilities, not having a decent place to live, moving from one motel to another, and not having a stable to job to support the family.
Children in adult prison are in severe danger. They suffer higher rates of physical and sexual abuse and suicide. Compared to those held in juvenile detention centers, youth held in adult jails are 7.7 times more likely to commit suicide. Five times more likely to be sexually assaulted. Twice as likely to be beaten by staff. 50% are more likely to be attacked with a weapon. In the public’s eye, the teens that suffer through this are just getting what they deserve. But in reality the restricted youth are at great risk of sexual assault. More than 1 in 10 youth in state juvenile facilities and large non-state facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission, if less than 12 months. We agree that adult court is for the most serious and radical offenders. While it is true that juvenile offenders are waivered to adult courts because they are a menace to the community and the reasoning of their crime, did it occur to you that youths held in adult prison are at greater risk of sexual victimization? The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission found that “more than any other group of incarcerated persons, youth incarcerated with adults are probably at the highest risk for sexual abuse.” Some of you may say that this isn’t such a horrible thing compared to their sins. But this crucial and inhuman act may be more deadly than you think.
David Chura wrote the book, I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine, which follows his time teaching English to juveniles at an adult lockup in New York City and shows his first hand account of the effects of isolation. Chura saw boys who went from ironing their orange uniforms to stop bathing all together, and saw students completely deteriorate and lose all motivation to do any task throughout the entire day. To expand further, Ian Kysel’s article, Growing Up Locked Down, Youth in Solitary Confinement, delves into the effects of a prolonged sentence of solitary confinement on children. Adolescents have special vulnerabilities that need more attention and care, and when subjected to solitary confinement, the punishment can be “particularly cruel and harmful when applied to them” (Kysel 63). It is true that conditions vary between prison to prison and state to state, but many children reported their stories and accounts to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), explaining how they were refused health care facilities, exercise, education, reading, visits and calls from family, and other needed rehabilitative programs, which were frighteningly similar regardless of the purpose of the
However if we take a step back and look at how incarcerating youth is hurting them. According to the risks juveniles face when they are incarcerated with adults written by Jason Zeidenberg "juveniles are more likely to be targeted for rape five times more than the adult prisoner and suicide rates among juveniles are 7.7 times higher than those that are in juvenile detention centers." Those two statistics alone explains the reason juveniles should not be placed in prison with adults. Another reason juveniles should not be locked up with adults is because "juveniles are twice as likely to be beaten up by staff." This statistic is very sickening because in the prison the people the juveniles should trust are also bringing them
For starters, children in the juvenile correction system are not rehabilitated for drug addictions or treated for mental health conditions. Being incarcerated does nothing positive for them. These children become stuck in the cycle of arrests and reoffending, in which every time they are brought back to a facility it is now exponentially harder for them to return to be a functioning member of society. In fact, there are kids who have been trapped “in this system for decades” (Mayeux). Obviously juvenile detention policies do not work, or these children would have been reformed and not have been in the same situation for so long. Young adults stuck in this cycle get released and then are immediately back where they started when they break another law, harming the teenager’s future, and endangering public safety (Mayeux). Society, in fact, would benefit from a rehabilitory stance on juvenile crime instead of a punishing one. Juvenile detention intervenes in these at-risk children’s lives in a way that actually turns them into criminals, by imposing stereotypes on them, and treating them like they are dangerous, and not worth fixing. The American perspective on juvenile crime needs to change, because the current program is not benefitting at-risk children, or
Groups like, American Jail Association and the American Civil Liberties Association have tried really hard to keep children out of adult prisons. Placing juveniles in adult prisons will save money but it was increase the number crime in the future once those kids get back on the streets.
In the documentary “Poor Kids” you get to truly see and feel how it is to be a child that suffers from food insecurity, poverty and the rest that comes with it. The fact that this problem exists in a developed country that you would assume it could provide for all their citizens. Well, the reality is we have many families suffering because of lack food and on top of that, we have children suffering from lack and food and more. As a society, we have grown to just be concerned about ourselves and we don’t focus on issues that affect others. We fail to see the struggles of others because it doesn’t directly impact us. We are focused on attaining wealth at all cost we would rather waste food than provide help for the ones in need. Ultimately, we are creating policies that, make sure no one gives food to the ones that needed the most. It’s a sad reality that we must face in order to continue to strive as a nation. Therefore, we need to acknowledge others and provide them with the respect that they deserve. We also have many corporations and elites that have control, power, and wealth. The stratified system in the U.S is making it that much harder for lower-income families to come out of poverty. Not only are they suffering from lack of food, lack income, and resources, but this also is affecting their pride and self-worth.
Imagine sitting in a courtroom, hoping the the judge will not give a harsh sentence. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many juveniles, some as young as 13! A juvenile is subject to a more severe sentence with the limited sentencing available. It is estimated that 250,000 youth are prosecuted as adults, each year. This number should change, as juveniles are not adults, both mentally and physically. Juveniles need an environment surrounded with guiding adults, education and the resources to help them. A juvenile is not an adult, and should not be tried as one.
By law adolescents are not able to vote, purchase tobacco or alcohol, join the armed forces, or sign a legal contract. Children are not permitted the same rights and responsibilities as adults because the law recognizes their inability to make adult decisions. The law acknowledges that children are unable to handle the consequences that come along with the rights that adults have. By allowing them to be charged as adults is holding them to a double standard. Telling them that they are not old enough to enjoy the same luxuries as adults, but they can experience the same punishment as adults if they commit a crime. The law acknowledged the inability of children to make decisions but still allows them to suffer the same consequences as adults. Research demonstrates that transferring children from juvenile court to adult court does not decrease recidivism, and in fact actually increases crime. Instead of the child learning their mistake they are more likely to repeat it. Juvenile detention centers have programs that help reconstruct young minds and help them realize where they went wrong. Prison does not offer this same opportunity. (Estudillo, Mary Onelia)
I do not think it is a good idea to lock juveniles up in prisons with adults. For a child to set down and plan a murder for instance, there would have to be some kind of deep emotional problem. On the other side of this, if the child knows right from wrong and he can sit down and plan a murder, then you could say if he is old enough to kill someone then he is old enough to die. The juvenile criminal is rooted much deeper than right from wrong. It starts back from when they are small children. Most of them are usually outsiders or outcasts. Who can you hold fault for that other than society? If juveniles don't fit in with the popular kids in school they are considered an