Circumstances are a Must

January 15, 2010
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Have you ever lost someone who was dear to you? I know that that would hurt painfully because I have lost people very close to my heart. Have you or someone you care about ever been raped or murdered by a minor? Did you want the rapist or murderer to go to a children’s juvenile facility or adult prison? I know I would want for the judge to take many factors into consideration. Sadly, those murderers and rapists, as long as they are under the age of eighteen, are not tried as adults but are tried as children and sent to a juvenile detention hall. The main thing at stake is the fact that the criminals commit gruesome crimes and are not given the proper punishment according to their crime or the stability in their mental, emotional, and physical state. They are free to wander in society as soon as they turn eighteen and are released from juvenile detention. The reason why they are released is because when a minor is tried as a minor and is sent to a juvenile facility, and when he or she turns eighteen, he or she is completely released because the law states that unless new evidence is available and proven, no person of the law is allowed to reopen a case of any sort. The one thing that needs to be taken into account by the judge (since they are not able to have under aged jurors when prosecuting the minor) is their mental stability and physical condition. In the case of a murder committed by a minor, think about these questions: How old is the culprit? What was murderers mental and emotional state? Was the minor under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was the child murderer suffering from sleep deprivation or was he/she hallucinating? If so, why? Did the minor come from a twisted family and background? All of the answers to these questions should be understood and taken into account by the judge in order to sentence the minor to juvenile or adult prison. These intense questions must be answered because they are all important factors that would have affected the criminals’ mind when committing the murder. If the guilty party was not suffering from anything, then he or she might not have committed that intense crime. Overall, the main thing to look at is the family background because that could affect the mind and make someone do drugs, join a gang or drink an excessive amount of alcohol, which could make them do heinous crimes.
Something to think about when considering criminal prosecution is that they deserve to be locked up one way or another. However, where they are placed when locked up should depend in the severity or intensity of the crime itself. In the case of a murder committed by a minor, think about these questions: What was murderers mental and emotional state? Was the minor under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was the child murderer suffering from sleep deprivation or was he/she hallucinating, if so, why? All of the answers to these questions should be understood and taken into account by the judge in order to sentence the minor to juvenile or adult prison. For example, the article, Juvenile Criminals Must Be Tried as Adults, by Jessica Wilde, basically says that two ten-year-old boys kidnapped, mutilated and murdered the two-year-old Jamie Bulger (1). They laid his body on the railroad track intending to cause significant injury to cover up what they had done to him already. Obviously, they knew what they were doing if they were trying to “cover up” what they had done to the baby boy. Wilde later states that “the murderers were tried and convicted as minors and the boys gave since been relocated and given new identities.” If they were just relocated, then that means that they are now able to commit the same intense crimes somewhere else. How can that be okay to just release children who know for a fact that that is wrong without properly punishing them? That is not the way that it should be. The children should have gone in front of the judge and no matter what they pledged, they still should have been questioned, interrogated, and talked to a professional psychiatrist or someone in that profession and from there it should be decide on what exactly should they be tried as.

Unfortunately, some people greatly disagree with me, including the writer, Mike Hendricks. As stated by him, his article, “Stop Trying 13-year-olds as Adults” says, “Kids as young as 10 can be tried as adults under Kansas law. In Missouri, there is no minimum. And I happen to think it’s wrong”(1). He does not explain very well why he thinks that is wrong. Is it because he is insinuating that they are a little young? He simply does not say anything to persuade me to think that it is not okay to place a child in an adult jail. Earlier in the story, he shares his child’s age, fourteen. Let me ask this, if someone were to purposely and knowingly murder his child, would he want for that other child to be just sent to juvenile detention, adult jail, or to be interrogated and questioned to determine where he deserves to be? I personally think that according to his article, he wants for the minor murderer to be put in juvenile or sent somewhere else where they can be given a second chance and a new identity. There are extenuating circumstances that he does not even contemplate, such as drug problems, alcohol and sleep deprivation problems, as I had mentioned earlier. Many other factors come to mind when deciding whether or not to send a minor to adult jail like age, condition, status, and maturity of action. Also, if a minor was seventeen and completely healthy, had been charged with a life sentence but only pertaining to juvenile, and planned to return to the normal society when he is eighteen because he/she was not able to be pushed up too adult jail, would you still want him/her to be sent to juvenile detention? That minor that deserved to go to adult jail because of his mental and emotional stability is now going to be released in less than a year because that case cannot be reopened unless there is new and relevant evidence to change the placement of the criminal. He or she will now be free to do whatever he or she wants outside in the real world because they were not properly placed.

A minor at the age of sixteen is able to get their drivers license. If you ask me, that comes with great responsibility. When taking care of a car, you need money for gas, insurance, oil changes, flat tires, and a myriad of other expenses. Is Mr. Hendricks saying that a sixteen-year-old with that kind of accountability is not able to decide not to murder, rape, or steal from someone? Well should that minor be charged just because of the crime or also because of their personal health? I think that judges should chose to charge them because of their personal accountability.
Homicide is completely and totally wrong no matter who does it. Now do I think an eight or ten year old should be around a bunch of forty-year-old rapists and thieves or murderers? No because I do have a heart and I know that they can recover, not having been alive so long. However, their brains, while not fully developed, must know not to do some of those heinous and atrocious acts. Whether or not they grew up in a shaky household, they know what should be done and what should not be done; they still have common sense. There are many people who completely disagree with me who might say “kids so young are denied a chance at rehabilitation in a juvenile system,” as Hendricks also complains (1). That is not always the case though. Rehabilitation is available to children as in adult prison as well, so the child, as stated many times by me should be looked at closely with immense consideration since the criminals are allowed the same services as a juvenile system.

The brains do not fully develop until the person has reached twenty-five years of age. So, if Hendricks is arguing that all minors should go to juvenile since their brains are still growing, then does he also agree that every person from birth until the age of twenty-five should then be allowed a grace time, and be sent to juvenile hall? That is probably what he agrees with then. If the age limit in juvenile is eighteen and their brains are still growing, then is still not okay to just give them another chance. When children keep acting out these heinous crimes, and are sent to the minors’ detention hall and receive rehabilitation treatment, and then released because of their good behavior, and commit another crime outside the hall, the minors jail is obviously not doing anything to help them, change or refine their actions. Just send them to adult prison.

Personally, the law is right when it says that judges are the only people able to decide where the minor performs the punishment, but they should take every little statement of proof into account when making that decision. Minors should go to adult prison if they murder someone if the circumstances agree with it. If they are tired from being awake for five days because of a drug and are moody and unstable, then let that child live in the juvenile system and receive rehabilitation and counseling. That matters so much in today’s young society because we want our youth to be free and able to live their lives safely, and to thank our past generations for setting such a good example for us. Let me leave you with this little thought. Think of the person closest to you: Mom, Dad, husband, wife, children, family members, friends, whoever. If a child at the age of fourteen were to murder or rape him or her, what punishment do you think they deserve?





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