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Kids are Just Kids
Think back to two thousand and one, the headlines
streaming about Lionel Tate, the youngest American
citizen to be sentenced to life in prison. Why? Well on
one nice and peaceful night, Lionel Tate and Tiffany
Eunick were left under the care of Lionel mom, Kathleen
Grossett-Tate. Lionel at that time was a regular eleven-year-old boy that weighed one hundred and sixty- six pound. Now compare that to Tiffany, she was only six-years-old and forty-six pounds. Mrs. Tate just got home from her job and had to babysit Tiffany, after they all ate dinner Mrs. Tate went upstairs to take a nap, leaving the two kids watching the television. While she was upstairs she had to yell at the kid to be quiet, but she did not check on them. About a hour later Lionel went to his mom and told her that Tiffany was not breathing. Why was she not breathing we do not know, but Lionel said that he had put her in a headlock and smashed her head on the table. The medical examiners said that he probably did more than that, because she had thirty- five injuries including a fractured skull and a bunch of bruises.
Still why was his punishment life in prison? At age twelve all boy are watching professional wrestling and they think it is cool. They look up to whatever is on the television and they want to try it. In addition, at twelve years old they do not think of the consequences. Some people may say, well what about the mother of Tiffany, how do you think she feels. It would give Tiffany her justice if Lionel went to jail for life, but he is still a minor. Since he was, still at minor at that time there was a controversy of whether he should go to adult jail or juvenile detention. Many judges have had this problem with their trials.
Many people think that kids should be tried as adults, but I disagree with them. I think that kids under the age of sixteen should be tried as minors, not adults. I feel that sixteen is a good age because “14 is too young to be considered an adult”, fifteen is just in between and sixteen is the age that they should be responsible (Hendricks 1). Some may argue that at sixteen they are not going to be responsible because they are starting to drive, but I think that if they are able to drive they should be able to think of the consequences to whatever they do. Hendricks declared, “The fact is, kids are not adults. Their brains are wired differently. They don’t think things out the way we do” and I agree with him (1). Kids do not think things through because they just want to have fun. They do not think that if they jump off a slide that they would get hurt; they think that they could be like batman and fly. Why should kids be tried as adult if not until you are sixteen are considered mature enough to drive and eighteen mature enough to vote. If you are mature enough to drive, you should be able to think of the consequences of a crime. Since when you drive, you hold the lives of your friends and family in you hands. If you make one wrong judgment, every thing could flash before your eyes.
Have you ever thought about what a kid would feel like
going to adult jail? How would you feel being ten and going
to jail? If it were me, I would be frightened. It is scary
that the court would even think of trying kids as adults,
since some may come out more dangerous than when they
first went in. Just as Hendricks stated “But to me, it’s also shocking that ours is a society in which kids so young are denied a chance at rehabilitation in the juvenile systems” (1). If you give a kid a chance they would see what they have done and try to fix it, but it you put them straight to adult jail all they would see is more violence. When they go to adult jail, “they’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged than when they went in” (Hendricks 2). People may say that it serves them right, but they are just kids. They cry when someone even takes something small from them.
People say what about the justice of their loved ones, if they are gone then the person who killed them should be put away. I really disagree with them; the kid should be given a chance to change because one day they could be helping you. They could become doctors, lawyers, accountant, or anything if you just give them a chance.
Some people will argue “trying minors as minors and not treating them in the same way for the same crime is that rehabilitation will not fix these young criminals”, but if you show them that they could go to adult prison, they could change because they would be scared and never do it again (Wilde1). It is like telling a little kid not to touch the stove, but they do it any way; as a result, they are burnt and they now know their consequences. It is almost like a form of trial and error, but a little more severe. In the end, they learn to correct themselves and all is good. Until someone says if you keep giving them chances to change, they would think that they could get away with anything. I oppose this statement because the kids would try to do anything to get their trust back and they would see their chance as an opportunity to change. They are so young that they would sometimes feel the need to get acceptance from any adult around them.
Kids should not go to jail at such an early age, and why is this so important, because going to jail can ruin the kids and their future. Going to jail can take their childhood away and if by one small chance they get out of jail, they will not have an education. What if they do not get an education, well first off where would you be without your education. Secondly, education is like a key to open doors for them. Doors that could lead them to a life without crimes. If they go to juvenile detention, they could get and education still and could possibly have a future away from violence. At this early age, I cannot believe people are declaring kids’ life as “irredeemable” and sending them to jail, because they have no chance in changing (Hendricks 1). Kids should have a chance to change so that hopefully they could give others chances, too. They could be a doctor and save lives or a judge choosing your future. A judge that either breaks your reputation or saves it. Our future depends on our kids without them just think what will happen.