Love for the Lost Children

January 12, 2010
By Anonymous

On average, there are about seven million minors in America today. About two million of those children were arrested in 2002 (Online Lawyer Source 1). One major debate in the country is whether or not children under the age of eighteen should be tried as an adult or a juvenile delinquent. One side of the argument fights that it is not fair and the children can be changed with help. The author Mike Hendricks suggests, “their brains are wired differently” (Hendricks 1). Refuting that idea, others claim that it does not matter the age of the accused, that the court needs to “provide justice to the families of victims” (Wilde 2). They believe that a crime should be tried the same no matter what the age of the criminal. I believe that children should be tried as minors or given a chance at therapy until the age of sixteen.
At sixteen you know the consequences for certain things, and it is easier to understand what you are doing when you commit a crime. When a person turns sixteen, responsibilities are given to them. Sixteen is when you start driving alone, and you can be trusted easier. At the age of sixteen you are almost a legal adult. Depending on the circumstances, a sixteen-year-old could be fairly tried as an adult. Before the age of sixteen, a child does not know exactly how the world works. Most people would say that when they were children, all that existed in the world was fun, toys, Santa Clause, and the tooth fairy. Children do not understand the dangers of the world. If they commit a crime, they can be helped because their brains are developing and are wired differently (Hendricks 1). They think that everything is happy and good and that evil is just in the movies. They are still learning the basics of life. Children under the age of sixteen should not be tried as adults in prison because they can be rehabilitated. When you are sixteen you are at the legal age to have a job, you have had experiences to teach you right and wrong. By then, if you do not know right from wrong, you probably will not be changing your mind. At sixteen, what you believe and know is pretty set in stone and difficult to adjust.

A lot of people believe that children can be charged as adults before sixteen or be charged as minors as long as they are under the age of eighteen. People argue that fairness needs to be given to the families of the victims, that the children should be placed in adult prison (Wilde 2). Placing a child in the same prison area with all kinds of violence will let the child see that kind of behavior, and may encourage them to continue or worsen in it. So why would giving justice to the family and sending the child to prison help stop that kind of abuse? It wouldn’t. Some people believe that, “a lack of human morals cannot be treated or cured in rehabilitation centers” (Wilde 1). Those people believe that people are either born with or without morals. If that was true then how are children changed with rehabilitation for anorexia, or drugs, or anything else? Children are changed all the time with rehabilitation. Some people might say that these problems should not arise in the first place. Well what if they grew up around bad parents and were not sent to school giving them a chance to see the right way to behave? It is not fair to send a child under the age of sixteen to prison when they can be helped with their problems and struggles.

To conclude, children should not be tried as adults until the age of sixteen. At sixteen you know the difference between right and wrong and know the consequences for what you are doing. When you are a child your brain is still developing so it can be fixed with help. A child does not always understand what they are doing when the commit a crime. It is fair to try a sixteen-year-old as adult depending on the circumstances. Children need care and understanding to be able to grow up and be a better person. What if they will grow up and change the world one day? We will never know if they are sent to jail for several years. That is why children deserve a chance. So what do you believe is right: juvenile or jail?

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