Children are not Adults

January 11, 2010
By br.hall94 BRONZE, Houston, Texas
br.hall94 BRONZE, Houston, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Do children the age of ten deserve to go to jail with forty year olds? Do we really want to condemn are young to a world that belongs to adults? How would you feel if you were ten and going to an adult jail? Across the nation children are being gathered up and convicted as adults for their crimes. Children are being denied a chance of the juvenile system. In this system children get rehab and get to be with people around their age. In prison however, there is no rehab and hardly ever anyone of the same age leaving the children alone. If you take a child and line them up next to an adult, which one is the adult? Obviously the adult is the adult, so why are kids across the nation getting tried for crimes as adults? Children should not be tried as adults; however, consequences must be given for their actions.
Many people believe that children are not as “mentally awake” as adults are, so they cannot make very important decisions; “Not until you’re 18 are you assumed mature enough to vote, sign contracts, make out wills, sign leases or decide on medical treatment without parental consent” (Hendricks 1). These laws that restrict children from voting, and signing important document such as wills, tell us that the children can’t think as rationally as adults and so they should not be given great responsibility till they are mentally ready. So if children are not ready to responsibly carry out their actions then why are they going to adult prison?
You can tell by the actions of the children that “their brains are wired differently” (Hendricks 1). If you ask a child to do an assignment they will slack off, but if you ask an adult they will get it done. There is an obvious difference in the way children and adults think. Children are not as developed in their actions or the way they think, as adults are. Adults, however, are more rational and are able to figure out smart ways around problems, while children do see all the routes.
If a child goes to jail they cannot get rehab for what they have done. Rehab can help the children get better so they never do something as bad as what they did ever again. In the juvenile system rehab is given to children for them to get better. Which do you think is a better choice? When a child gets in trouble they are disciplined, through this they learn to not do whatever they did again “’Youth behavior is malleable and can be reformed with treatment and successful rehabilitation” (Wilde 1). We all have been disciplined at one point in our youth so that we may know what is right and wrong. However some of the juveniles did not have a parent to teach them so how could they know? Many of the juveniles that commit the crimes are from slum areas. Here the parents are busy working or are not around all together. With no authority figure they cannot learn good form bad, right from wrong.
It is obvious that children should not be tried as adults; they need discipline, but the kind given in adult jail is meant for adults only. If the children go to adult prison “They’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged” (Hendricks 2). Adult prison makes their situation even worse and it does not help them become better people children need discipline, but the adult system is not for them, they need the juvenile system so they do have a chance at a different better life. If you put children in adult jail they do not learn from their mistakes and do not get better because no help is offered. If they go in bad they come out worse; so how does that help our community and the children? It does not make them better and it is not fair to them. When they come out of jail they have spent most of the time by themselves; they don’t have anybody so they shut themselves up from the community and become even more hurt. In the juvenile centers there are people that are their same age so they can make friends and socialize. It is possible that these friends can help them learn from their mistakes. The time they spend in the juvenile center helps them become better people and teaches them right from wrong.
Some people may say that it is fair to the families affected by the children to send them to jail. Is it fair however, to condemn a young soul for the rest of their life? The crimes the children commit are horrible, but the Bible talks about second chances and forgiveness so shouldn’t we forgive them for their mistakes? They should still go to a rehab facility so they can stop and think about what they have done. The children I am sure feel horrible about what they have done because even bad people feel sorrow, they may not show it, but deep down they all are sorry and when they look in the mirror I know they do not like want they see. With rehab they can fix their problem and be a contributing member of our society. Child behavior as stated before is malleable, which means that they can be more easily fixed than adults. If we start when they are young we have a chance to stop them when they are older.
Some people can also say that rehab does not always help the children. This may be true, but it can help and isn’t a chance better than nothing. Rehab can help them and who are we to refuse them the help they need to get better? Another argument is that some children have thought clearly about what they are going to do. Everybody has had some crazy ideas when they were kids and when they thought about it then it was a good plan, however it actually was not. I had a friend who crashed into a fire hydrant in his parents’ car drive away and then thought about going and crashing the car in a lake so he would not get in trouble. I myself have also had some crazy ideas some where about playing with fire and mosquito spray and other ideas were stealing one of my sister’s favorite rings for revenge. If you think back to your youth I am certain that you have done something crazy. This just shows that things planned out by kids are not always the smart things to do. They should go to rehab to learn, to get better ideas of fun.
Finally some people can say that you should go to jail for the crime you committed, not get a lessened sentence for your age. So if that is what you believe so be it, but if the time comes for a death sentence to be given to a ten year old, I would like you to see the look in his eyes and see the sadness and regret. If we do give him the death sentence, how are we better than him and how is that fair? If we put him for jail for the rest of his life, you will see his future get flushed away. You would have condemned a ten year old to a hard life.
We can stop adding to our crime if we take the matter into our own hands. We need to rise up and help the children get through their problems. If we do this they can be rehabilitated into good people. Trying children as adults is wrong because they are not mentally or physically adults and we need to fix that so let’s start now. Children should not be tried as adults.

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