Kids Will Be Kids

January 11, 2010
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Imagine if you were an innocent ten year old who was being sent to a place where you are surrounded with violent adults, and crazed criminals. As you walk in, everyone has their eye on you, and you are thrown into a concrete room with a gate as a door. You are sharing this “cell” with another being who is three times your age. “What are you in for??” he asks. Imagine if you were sent to jail with a bunch of violent adults, and you are only a naïve young child. Even if you were a violent child who had committed a treacherous crime, you would be scared to death! Don’t’ believe it, well its true. Young children are being tried as adults and sent off to jail. Mike Hendricks shares that “Keaire Brown, 14, will be tried as an adult for a murder she’s accused of committing when she was just 13” in his article “Stop trying 13-year olds in court as adults” (1).

Kids these days, who commit callous crimes such as murder, rape, and stealing, are being punished for their actions more harshly than they deserve as young children. I strongly believe that kids should not be tried as adults, and should be treated as if they are kids because that’s who they truly are, even though they have committed adult crimes. They won’t learn right from wrong by just going to jail, but if they are sent to a psychiatrist they will have a better chance to change their lives.

There are many people who believe that kids deserve to be sent to jail, but I have many reasons against it. A child cannot be tried as an adult if he or she is not even legally an adult yet. It is not fair for them to be punished and considered older than they really are. If they are tried as adults and considered adults in court, then why aren’t they allowed to participate and other activities or social events that only permit adults? In most states the law “forbids you getting a tattoo until you’re 18 — though 15-year-olds are allowed to marry, if a judge allows it” (Hendricks 2). The laws are not consistent about what a child can do, and what is only authorized for adults.
Some kids may intend to perform horrid crimes, but most juveniles don’t know what they are doing and that what they are doing is as serious as it is. If kids think it is funny or fun to commit murder, then they obviously don’t understand the seriousness of their actions and think it is just a joke. Kid’s, especially ones who aren’t even yet teenagers, “brains are wired differently. They don’t think things out the way we do” (Hendricks 1).
Even though these kids don’t understand what they did, they still should be punished, but “sending them to adult prisons where they’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged than when they went in is not safe” (Hendricks 2). The adults will convince the children to be violent like them, and are exposed to even more hostility. Now how is that helpful at all? Another option besides sending these poor deranged kids to jail, is to send them off to juvenile detention, but also have them talk to a psychiatrist who can mentally and physically help them and teach them right from wrong.

On the other hand, there are many people who believe the kids should be sent to jail with violent adults because they committed a crime as serious as those of adults. Those people believe that rehabilitation centers, and juvenile detention does not work because the juvenile kids won’t take it seriously and will fake being better. Rehab centers do work, because there are many kids who have come out of them a new person. Rehabilitation might not be for everyone, but there are other options. The kids can be sent to juvenile detention, which is very similar, without the crazed adults, and bad environment that isn’t safe for children. They think that they deserve to be sent off to jail with the adults because they committed an adult crime. Even though the kids are not legally adults, some people don’t think it matters the age of the person but the worth of the crime. I think that by just sending the kids off to jail, they won’t learn anything, but be influenced by the bad people around them. They need to be changed completely by talking to someone who can help them and by going to rehab.

While some people think that the kids don’t know what they are doing when they commit such crimes, others disagree. They think that these kids know exactly what they are doing and they do it on purpose. While I argue that kids don’t know what they are doing and need to be taught right from wrong, Jessica Wilde believes that:
A lack of human morals cannot be treated or cured in rehabilitation centers.  Morals are inherent from birth, the acknowledgement of right from wrong and the respect of following those lines are unchangeable foundations a person is built upon from the beginning.  People either have morals or they don’t. (1)
I think that is just ridiculous. Of course you are not born with correct morals, you learn them as you grow up, and there is definitely a possibility that even after you rape, steal, or murder, that you can learn, and won’t ever do such a thing again. It is just like going to school and learning mathematics. You are not born knowing how to add one plus one. The teacher teaches you, and from then on you know that is the correct answer.

So many kids are being tried as adults, and frankly it isn’t fair. They might have been raised by unstable parents, and should have the chance to learn better morals and live a better life then stuck in jail. You might believe the opposite, but when you put yourself in the shoes of the young kids who are being punished, you might think differently. The main point of this issue, no matter what the intentions were of the child when they were committing the crime, is to treat these kids humanly. Sending them off to jail is a horrible way to teach them a lesson. These kids deserve better treatment, and I know if we all work together and send in letters to the government we can pass a law, that kids should not be allowed to be tried as adults.

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