Juvenile Justice

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The prisons of America are gaining new residents, smaller, weaker, and dumber residents. One might not care what type of man goes into the prisons except these men aren’t men at all; these are children, scared, weak, and gullible children. In the prisons of America children are now becoming long-term residents.

One author who has a strong belief and faith in juveniles halls is Mike Hendricks who writes “it’s also shocking that ours is a society in which kids so young are denied a chance at rehabilitation in the juvenile system”(1). In America children are now being tried as adults for any crimes they commit be they serious or tolerable. If a child commits a murder they are sent to court and tried as an adult. If they are proven guilty they are sent to prison with adults. When their sentence is over they come out adults. Not just regular adults, but hardened, mean, and deadly adults. These children are having their lives ruined before they even begin. They don’t get a second chance; they get a cold hard cell for twenty or more years. We need to stop trying kids as adults in courts for any crime they commit. God wouldn’t have put these kids on earth if they were meant to live and die in prison. We need to stop sending these kids to prison.

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If they are sent to jail for murder they are going to come out meaner and angry. Prison won’t soften them up it will just make them terribly angry and vengeful, “sending them to adult prisons where they’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged than when they went in”(Hendricks 1). Kids need to be sent into the juvenile system for a chance at rehabilitation. They need to be given a second chance at life. Don’t get me wrong they need to be punished severely but not sent into a place that will ruin them. We want them to lose their hate and mean not gain more. Rehabilitation is the only way to reach these kids. You have to give them a chance to learn how to be a law-abiding citizen.

“14 is too young to be considered an adult”(Hendricks 1) is a statement with no falsehood. “The fact is kids are not adults. Their brains are wired differently. They don’t think things out the way we do” they don’t have the mental capacity to understand some of the complex criminal situations they get involved in (Hendricks 1). Kids act on impulse and peer pressure, not logical calculations or mature reasoning like adults. A human is not considered an adult until they are eighteen, not fourteen, “you have to be at least 18 to serve on a Kansas jury” yet you can be ten and get sent to prison for possibly life. The fact is when you’re fourteen you’re thinking about fun, not taxes and your job. This is because you’re not an adult you’re just a kid. And as a kid you don’t think of the consequences of your actions, the only thing on your mind is the immediate benefit.


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Some people may argue that it’s their fault for committing the crime, they knew the consequences and yet they did it anyway. They may say they are evil and deserve prison. When I was ten my friend and I were at my ranch. We had just gotten two new BB guns and we wanted to try them out. First we went around shooting trees and cans. Eventually we got bored and were walking back to my house when we passed the old shack we kept our tools in. The shack had a tiny window that was facing us. My friend and I looked at each other and without saying a word we both aimed and started to shoot the window. We took such great pleasure in defiling the window that we even began to go up to it and smash it with the buts of our rifles. After the window was shattered we began to realize what we had done. The destruction of that window was so exhilarating to us. We grew more and more intense with every shot and eventually we became indulged with the chaos. We only realized that we had done something wrong when we had finished the act. Inside every person there is the dark desire to commit evil. You won’t even know your doing something wrong until it’s done. The sensation leaves as quickly as it came. Then you are left with a soul of guilt and shame. When this feeling happens you have no sense of write or wrong, no moral value only rash actions and aggressive emotions.
Yet more people may argue that some children mature at an early age. This is not true, although they main gain a great deal of maturity they are still not as morally sound as an adult. If you are a parent and your son or daughter begins to act very maturely such as doing everything they are told or doing homework or chores
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before you even ask this is just a clever rouse. Every time you have seen this did they not ask you after for some sort of gratification or reward then if you refuse do they not run off into a little temper tantrum? Does this not prove that they are even less mature for faking maturity? If they were adults would they not simply do all of their chores and assignments without being asked and then do even more then they are expected to do without ever lacking in their mature ideals?
More people would say if they take a life should they not give their own. This is insanity. This was the way of thinking in Biblical times when an eye for an eye was law. If we went back to this there would be no society, no human race. If the Japanese had been given the privilege to send two nukes back at us would you think that was acceptable? What if the Jews had been given the rite to kill as many Germans as Jews the Germans killed? That would be justice but at what cost, millions of people dying for senseless revenge. Have you never heard the saying an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind? If this was the case humanity would be set back thousands of years.

Our human nature demands we get justice on some one who does us wrong, but what if the wrongdoer is just a child? Some one who was doing what they thought was OK not what they thought was murder. Would you be willing to send such a child into a cold life behind prison bars where they will probably die or be tortured in such a way that when they turn fourteen they have already seen a man stabbed to death? What if you were that child? Just one mistake turns you to a life of heinous acts and outrageous violence against your fellow man. So I beg you stop ruining the lives of these children for the sake of humanity.





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