Trying Children

January 11, 2010
On the topic of Juvenile criminals and how they should be tried, there are two main views: they should be tried as adults or that they shouldn’t. Author Jessica Wilde believes the judiciary system should not make age-based exceptions. While reading her article, “Juvenile criminals must be tried as adults,” Wilde shows her opinion through examples of horrendous crimes such as murder of a 2 year-old, or being “jealous” so you kill your father’s pregnant girlfriend. However in “Stop trying 13-year-olds in court as adults,” author Mike Hendricks shows his opinion that children should be tried based on age. He shows this throughout his many examples such as how children come out of prison more dangerous and damaged then when they went in to prison. Overall the opinions of the authors are extremely different showing the two most radical positions in this argument.
Taking the different opinions of these authors into consideration, I agree partially with both of them. I think children should be tried based on the level of crime committed, but age should be considered. Wilde says that,”11-year-old Jordan Brown murdering his father’s pregnant girlfriend because he was ‘jealous’”(1). This little boy killed a woman with a baseball bat simply because he was jealous of what his father had! She chooses some very good cases to prove her point about children being tried as adults. These cases really make me wonder what factors cause children to do what they do to others. Family? School? Sports? On the other hand, Hendricks makes a good point about,” the outrage over trying kids as adults, then sending them to adults prisons where they’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged than when they went in”(2). This also makes me think how tough it could be on children in real prison. I wonder what challenges they are faced with everyday. To reaffirm my opinion, I believe children should be tried based on the level of crime they committed, but age should definitely be taken into consideration.
Some say that trying children as adults is wrong. For example, Mike Hendricks argues the fact how children come out of jail far more dangerous than they were before they were tried. Stepping into judges’ shoes, it would definitely be hard to make an honorable decision. I can’t even imagine the countless number of factors they have to take into consideration before making a decision. Thinking about the case I mentioned earlier about two 10 year olds murdering a 2 year old, I really question judges’ decisions. These children were given a second chance, new identity, new town, and new lives, with only a slim memory of their past. Okay, not only did these children plot to murder this child, but they also placed it on a train track after repeatedly stabbing and beating the harmless, and most likely already dead child. I understand the opinions of people who believe children should not be tried as adults, but a case like this should have tried these children as adults. Some people say children are born innately evil and have always had an evil bone in their body; others say that children acquire evil from the world around them. We live in a corrupted world full of violence and death, and people still wonder how children scheme the idea to murder someone.
In conclusion, children are very vulnerable in today’s society, and I believe that this influences most of today’s convictions involving children. Some cases are bad, and others are really bad. People say kids will be kids, and I believe that that is not necessarily the truth. Children should be tried with their age taken into consideration, but the level of crime committed will be the major factor on whether they go to juvenile detention centers, or jail.





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