Teens Should Absolutely Be Tried as Adults When They Commit Adult Crimes

January 11, 2010
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Murderers, rapists, and other criminals are being released from jail everyday after serving only very short and lenient sentences. Who are these criminals and what makes them so special? The criminals are juveniles who commit adult crimes. They are being tried every day in juvenile courts, they are receiving shortened sentences, and they are being released and given new identities to continue to live their lives in peaceful and happy bliss, all while their victims and their families are left to suffer forever. Because the courts and juvenile rights advocates believe that second chances should be given to youths who commit crimes, criminals are walking the streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes.

When it comes to trying teens in court as adults. Some say stop trying them as adults and try them as juveniles, others say they must be tried as adults when they commit adult crimes. I believe that teens should be held accountable for their actions and tried as adults. If I knew somebody who hurt or killed someone I loved, I would want him or her to experience the worst possible punishment for his or her actions. Some people say that children learn bad behavior from their parents, things like murder, rap or drug abuse; but I believe that children should learn from their parent’s mistakes. I agree with Jessica Wilde when she say’s “Morals are inherent from birth”(Wilde1). To me this is saying that kids, and even adults, should know the difference between right and wrong. Finally, put yourself in the mother’s position, if your son or daughter just died, how would you want their killer to be punished? How would you feel if you never got to see your child alive again while their killer served only a short sentence before being released from jail?

Now then, some people believe that we should stop putting teens in adult prison; they believe we should be lenient with them and give them easier sentences. These people argue that children are capable of learning from their mistakes and because they are children, they can be rehabilitated. Others say that teens are too young to understand the consequences of there actions, or that they don’t know their limitations with drugs or alcohol. I believe this is a ridiculous argument because teens shouldn’t be drinking or doing drugs in the first place. There are some people, like Hendricks, in his article “Stop Trying 13-Year-olds in Court as Adults”, who believe “They’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged then when they went in”(Hendricks 2). This is a good argument; however, can’t we say the same thing for adults? Why should juveniles be treated any different than adults when the crimes they are committing are every bit as heinous as adult crimes?

Youths who commit crimes are criminals; they are walking our streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes. I strongly agree with Jessica Wilde when she says, “All crimes committed by juveniles should and must be treated in the same regard, it not to punish heinous acts, then to provide justice to the families of victims (Wilde 2). As a child myself, I was raised in a family who believes in punishments, spankings, and repercussions for the actions of the children. Some say morals are learned, others say we inherit morals at birth, either way, a criminal is a criminal and must be punished as such. Should we punish all juveniles as adults? Probably not with lesser crimes, but some crimes are certainly more heinous than others, and those crimes like murder and rape are adult crimes. It really doesn’t matter the age of the criminal, it they are committing crimes that are inherently adult in nature, then yes, these criminals absolutely should be punished as an adult regardless of their age. Our courts, our schools, nor our societies, should ever allow anyone, child or adult, get away with murder.

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elycavill This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 1, 2015 at 9:52 am
I like it a lot, I was reading it in a very opposinte atmosphere from the one in your poem but I could enter the situation that you created with your words and I believe that means you really are a good writer.
Anita17 replied...
Oct. 10, 2015 at 3:26 am
Wow, this article is super accurate. Is there any way to contact the writer? I have questions and I believe only he can give me true answers. It'll help a ton, thank you so much for this!
FallenAngelOfDeath said...
May 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm
I agree with @Ohkay2 they are young and don't fully understand what they do and they all deserve another chance.Yes what they did was stupid but it wasn't right to lock them up like they don't deserve to be its inhuman...I was almost arrested and given 4 years in an adult jail for false accusations from a girl and I'm only 16 so...yea it isn't right they deserve another chance
wolfgirlee replied...
Jun. 2, 2015 at 9:29 pm
My then 14 year old step son murdered my six week infant. The ONLY reason we didn't try him in adult court was because we were afraid a jury would let him go that day. Six years in juvenile"jail" it's no where near what he deserves. And he'll get out worth a free and clean record. You should rethink your position. One a criminal, always a criminal. Now I have to worry about him finding is on six years as he'd said he wanted to kill all of us, but only one would hurt the family.
TylerJCoon said...
May 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm
Okay I understand everything you are talking about besides how you said rap is a bad thing... I don't understand how rap is bad. All because rap talks about sex, drugs, murder, gangs, ect. doesn't make someone do these things. The people who say "Well rap puts my in an angry mood" are stupid, that is their mind-set. Sure gang members listen to rap but they listen to what their buddy's are making. Growing up in the streets make people rap cause that's kinda been a thing. That's how rap started, t... (more »)
Drew replied...
May 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm
writer meant rape.
FallenAngelOfDeath replied...
May 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm
I can relate to that but even I as the things i experienced disagree but you are entitled to your opinion.
Eileen said...
May 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm
I strongly disagree with this post because the juvenile brain is not fully developed until their mid 20s. Therefore irrational decisions can be made during an emotional time. Also, teens do not fully understand the consequences of their actions, especially if they have been raised by parents who are not there to discipline their child. Have you ever done something you have regretted? Many children that get sentenced in an adult jail do not get the opportunity of parole. That means one mistake yo... (more »)
RightWingExtremist replied...
May 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm
@Eileen I'm pretty sure by the time you're 13, no matter how developed your brain is, you know things like murdering and raping people are really bad. Drug-related crimes and some other non-violent crimes may be an exception, but the point still stands.
Charizard said...
Apr. 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm
I agree but juveniles should be given a second chance other wise they will have no job, no girlfreind, no wife, and probobly be stuck living with their parents. Then geting a job will be slim to none
mell replied...
Apr. 29, 2015 at 2:16 am
doesn't an adult who commits adult crime go through the same things as well?
Pookie18 said...
Apr. 8, 2015 at 11:46 pm
I strongly agree with this article and this author. I strongly believe that teenagers should be charged as an adult. If a teenager committed a crime like an adult, might as well treat them just like an adult!Just because their teenagers that committed an adult crime, doesn't mean they have an excuse to be not charged as an adult! Many people say we shouldn't charge them like an adult because, a teenager frontal lobe of the brain is not fully developed which causes them to be less mature. In qui... (more »)
TheUnpopularOpinion said...
Apr. 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm
Hello! It seems like there is a lot of opinions here and I'd like to bring in some science to help some people. The teen brain is an interesting thing to many people including me, I myself am a teen that just wanted to understand something for a project. Our decisions are usually caused by our frontal lobe, a part in our brain that helps us use self control, decision making, insight, and common sense. Our frontal lobes don't develope completely until we are in our late 20's and we still aren't m... (more »)
pinkmommy replied...
Apr. 30, 2015 at 9:20 am
This was well said. Most people don't realize that there are actual physical differences in adolescent brain function -- and, by the way, adolescents ends at age 24. We recognized that teens are not prepared for full-on adulthood in many ways: age 18 for legal adult/voting, age 21 to drink. Insurance companies get this, which is why renting a car isn't an option for people in early 20's.
wolfgirlee replied...
Jun. 2, 2015 at 9:37 pm
If you're a teen too, then your brain is also still developing, science or not, and therefore your opinion is not valid. My fourteen year olds brain, while still developing, knew right from wrong when he decided to murder my six week old daughter. He did it because, " it didn't make sense to kill everyone. Just one person would hurt the family." And yes, the f@#ker is in juvenile jail for (ha!) six years ONLY because we were afraid of we tried him as an adult, the jury would(it just takes over p... (more »)
TheCorrectOpinion replied...
Feb. 5, 2016 at 11:31 am
@TheUnpopularOpinion However, I am 14 and I know enough to realize that crimes should be paid for, no matter the science behind our brains.
Unicorn said...
Mar. 24, 2015 at 3:19 pm
jojo99 said...
Mar. 16, 2015 at 10:30 am
This article was simply terrible, but at the same time it was perfect
annycs13 said...
Feb. 21, 2015 at 7:59 pm
I think this article speaks the truth and is very well written. I do have one thing to say however, and that is that what if the teen didn't know what they were doing and was simply coerced into committing an adult crime? Or what if a teen is charged as an accessory to an adult crime? Then what? I think that after a certain age the teen should be charged with an adult crime, like after age fifteen or something, but if they're thirteen or something, I think that they should be treated as a ju... (more »)
Bob Case replied...
Mar. 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm
what age do you think a kid knows right from wrong because I knew since I was 3 not to hit a girl or to shoot someone if your 10 and don't know right from wrong you have bad parents
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