When Justice gets its Say

Punishment is not an option. It is a requirement. At least, marking children as adults in Jessica Wilde’s eyes it is. My cousin has faced the awful experience of making the wrong decisions in his life. He has gone down the wrong path and that has left him in unpleasant consequences. He had it rough during his childhood. His mom and dad were, let’s just say, not the best parents in the world. His mom did drugs and his dad drank. His family background changed his life. It had left him to grow up dealing with these problems. He had problems with shoplifting, getting very temperamental at times, and it turned him to growing up very different then the shy little boy with almost white blonde hair my parents knew. He was being faced with a threatening sentence in jail at only sixteen that lead to forcing him to change his ways instead of dealing with the roots of his problems. He did not go to juvenile detention and maybe that’s the reason that he has not yet come to find out why he is doing such bad things and making immoral decisions. His life has come to spending all his time wondering about what went wrong and how he can’t help himself. It is sort of like an infection. You first have to find out how it started and where it came from to treat it, although it won’t be entirely the same again when it heals. He is still not the same person I knew when I was little. This is what our community has come to? Throwing kids in jail for something they don’t know that they’re doing? Since when is it right to mark off kids as adults instead of finding the root of the problem? For myself, I do believe “that 14 is too young to be considered an adult” (Hendricks 1). I believe fourteen is when you are at a stage where you have recently opened your eyes to the world.
Whoever heard of a fourteen year old who has not once messed up? That is why they created juvenile detention. Juvenile detention was made to help kids who have gone down the wrong path in their life. We also have counseling for these troubled kids. Counseling is designed to find the root of the problem instead of just ignoring it. These kids learn how to find out what the reason is for the crimes they’re committing. This helps to control the actions of these kids and help them make the right decisions next time they think about doing something that’s not right. There is another thing that I find interesting. I was searching YouTube and came across a video called Art Therapy from Juvenile Hall Teens. I started watching and wondered if expressing themselves through drawings can actually help them in releasing their thoughts of what is in their life. I researched this and one website explained how art therapy in juvenile detention helps teens develop self-esteem. Art therapy is just one of the things juvenile detentions offers to help kids.

Jessica Wilde proclaims the fact that “a lack of human morals cannot be treated or cured in rehabilitation centers” (1). She doesn’t state that they know what the problem is to fix. In that way, how can you put a child in rehabilitation without knowing what they’re dealing with? That’s why they made the centers. She also says that “some may argue that minors do not understand the significance of their actions, that they don’t understand the enormity of what they have done or how it has hurt others” (Wilde 2). But to re-explain what Hendricks says, children and teen minds are programmed diverse of adults. This is why they don’t understand what their doing. They have a different background, a different view of what the world is telling them, and they don’t have the knowledge of an adult. For instance, a teen could have grown up with their mother drinking and their father doing drugs, or one of their parents left which could have caused emotional distress on the teen in figuring out why this happened and pointing names of who to blame which leads them into making bad choices. They blame what happened in their life because either the parents do not communicate with them or they have not given the parents a chance to explain why what ever happened in their life happened. There could be many other reasons but these are just at the top of my head.
As to follow, Jessica Wilde says “excuses should not be made for these offenders; lessening the consequences of their actions will not only undermine the victim and his or her family, but also make it seem excusable after a short period of remorse” (2). Although excuses are wrong, there is typically a reason for the crime they have committed. Does she not understand how a child could act in this matter and not have a reason to present? I don’t think so. Their reasons could vary from being an adult while still a child because the parents weren’t responsible to take care of them etc… Although, the real two reasons kids make bad decisions are because they are either in need for attention or peer pressure has gotten to them and swallowed them whole. These are not excuses. These are what is causing their bad alternatives. The attention reason can apply to all family issues in the kid’s life and peer pressure is everywhere and sometimes kids have both reasons and can’t deal with it all. They are not adults.
These crimes teens are committing are wrong and punishable but we should help them make a turn in their life and go down the right path of society, or at least encourage them to do so instead of throw them in prison. You were a kid once. You should care about what your next generation is going to end up like. Let’s help them rather than throw them in prison. Let’s get down into the root of the problem; the reason the infection started. Let’s pick up the pieces of where they went wrong and finish the puzzle of a strong and healthy life. Let’s care for our next generation.





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