Should Kids Get A Second Chance On Life?

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In the articles “Juvenile criminals must be tried as adults” and “Stop trying 13-year-olds in courts as adults,” there are two separate arguments presented by two different authors on whether kids should be tried as adults or not. In the article “Juvenile criminals must be tried as adults,” Jessica Wilde believes kids need to be treated the same as adults in the courtroom. She explains how adults and kids can equally be cruel and evil. Although the article “Stop trying 13-year-olds in court as adults,” Mike Hendricks argues that kids don’t think things through the way adults do, so they shouldn’t be tried as adults. He also believes that kids deserve a second chance in life. He was quoted, “Yet where is the outrage over trying kids as adults, then sending them to adult prisons where they’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged than when they went in?” (Hendricks 2). I believe if kids go to jail they will have a greater chance of being abused, not have the opportunity to get a good education, and will be surrounded by bad influences and a negative atmosphere. These circumstances would make them a greater threat to society later on in life. The question is, should young teen-agers be tried in front of a judge as an adult, or not?

I think kids deserve a second chance in life. I believe that kids are not fully matured and do not have an overall sense of thinking things through like adults do. That’s why I believe in this quote, “The fact is, kids are not adults. Their brains are wired differently. They don’t think things out that way we do” (Hendricks 1). If they commit a crime then it may have been a direct result on how they were raised or some very unfortunate circumstances. On the other hand, think about the young 10-year-old boys that kidnapped a baby and killed him for “fun”. I have to agree with Wilde regarding this situation, “To those who advocate a second chance for youths, I have something for you to think about. Put yourself in Bulger’s mother’s shoes. Would you feel your son’s brutal murder was vindicated if the two boys who killed your son, purely for fun, were taken to juvenile detention, received rehabilitative aid and released with new identities to live the rest of their lives with nothing but a faint memory of what they had done? I think not” (Wilde 2). I think there should be a prison for kids only where they spend time getting the necessary treatment and rehabilitation for the crime they committed. Depending on the level of the crime they commit the more severe the punishment should be. Also, think about the parents of these juveniles. What if their parents brought them up to cheat, lie, and steal, “Marquese's mother has serious substance abuse problems, and some of Marquese's younger siblings had been temporarily removed from her care by the state. (By the time this happened, Marquese was already in the juvenile justice system, serving time in facilities.) She was in and out of jail during his childhood, and says that she taught Marquese to steal when he was young. She told FRONTLINE that her drugs of choice were heroin and crack cocaine” (Tobias and Matin 1). Every person has a role model in his or her life and it is normally his or her parents. What good do these kids know if they have always been taught the wrong thing? Think about that before you say you want kids to be tried as adults.

Many people do believe that teen-agers should be tried as an adult in front of a judge. Jessica Wilde brings up the fact that kids are committing the same crime as adults so they should get the same consequences, “All crimes committed by juveniles should and must be treated in the same regard” (2). She thinks that kids should know right from wrong just like adults, but why should they? They are younger and more naïve and could have been influenced in the wrong way and taught the wrong things. She also says, “ People either have morals or they don’t: there is no gray area” (Wilde 2). Kids do not have a fully developed mind and do not entirely understand the right from wrong. There could be different reasons for this, for example: other kids are bad influences at school, parents are bringing them up wrong, there could also be living in a bad environment around them.

The question still remains, should kids under the age of 18 be tried as an adult in front of a judge? I have shown you the arguments and opinions of two people and myself. I think that kids should not be tried as an adult. However, they should be made accountable for their crime through rehabilitation, medical treatments and a kid only reform school. They should make these kids write letters to the families they have hurt. People want to help fix our society from these young juvenile criminals. I believe that kids lives should not be ruined by being tried as an adult and going to prison at such a young age because of poor choices, bad influences or the lack of role model. They deserve a second chance.





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