The amount of violence in our society today shows us that the message "crime does not pay" has not reached violent crime offenders. Young teenagers who commit serious crimes should be tried in adult court. Trying teenagers as adults would convince potential and actual teenage offenders that if they commit adult crimes, they will serve adult times.
Almost every day, the media bombards us with the message that young teenagers are committing many violent, gruesome crimes that were traditionally "adult crimes." Citizens felt horrified when four teenagers in Cape Cod were merely suspended from school when they brutally raped a teenage girl. Television violence, "gangsta rap" and the brutal OJ Simpson case are among the stimuli that might convince teenagers that it's "okay to kill."
However, it's time to change the message, "You can do whatever you want, without repercussion." Our judicial system is strangled in its own red tape; it cannot compensate for the fact that gang members are having their juvenile members do their killing since everyone knows that they will not be punished under our current system.
If we tried teenage offenders of violent crime in adult court, with adult penalties, it would force them to think like adults about their actions. They would no longer be able to walk the fence between being an adult and a child. Trying teenagers who commit violent crimes in adult court would serve as a powerful deterrent.
It is unquestionable that trying teenagers in adult court would be a benefit to society, as well as to the teenagers who would learn that there is accountability and responsibility involved in being a United States citizen. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.