Criminology/ Should Kids Be Tried As Adults term paper 12472

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Should Juveniles be Tried as Adults? Violent crimes are committed in the United States everyday. Almost one-half of them are committed by teenagers ages 13 through 17 ("End of Line" 484). After the crimes have been committed and the lives of these children have been radically changed, society often demands that those who commit violent crimes be tried as adults, rather than as adolescents. Juveniles should be given light sentences and a second chance to return to the streets. Trying these teens as adults unjust and unfair, there other alternatives that our society can turn to, to help make our communities better places to live. We need to realize that children are our future, and we throwing their future away. We also need to ask ourselves if we should possibly be punishing these kids for not having stability in our homes, which is not their fault. Growing up in America today can be a very traumatic experience facing many pressures and trials. The youngest generation looks up to the teenagers for guidance but what kind of example are today's teenagers many concerned parents ask. There could be a much better example if the justice system did not let them get away with so many violent crimes. When a juvenile commits a crime he has a trial in a juvenile court. The basic idea behind the juvenile court is guardianship, the states acting for the welfare of children. "The jurisdiction and procedure of the juvenile court have been primarily chancery or equity rather than criminal (Miller 38)." In a May 1987 issue of Business Week followed up on a case when a 16 year old boy brutally raped and murdered a 26 year old woman in front of her two children ages four and six. After the woman was dead the young man proceeded to shoot the children. The children were not killed, but now live with the horrifying memory of their mothers brutal death. To make this story even more heart-crushing this young man was merely slapped on the hand with a sentence of two years in physciatric juvenile detention facility. If tried as an adult, this young man would have received 20 to 35 years maximum sentence in a state penitentiary without bail. Maybe this sixteen year old should have gotten more than two years but he came out a man from the detention facility (Wadsworth 11). He matured and learned to be himself, not wht other people wanted him to be. Rehabilitation programs are one alternative that has proven successful and helpful (Age 61). An example of a success story was Trina Leas of Peoria, Illinois. Trina was only 13 years old when she brutally shot and killed her classmate in the middle of class. Trina subsequently attended a local camp for troubled youth called "Peoria's Camp Neighborhood" and was totally changed. Now Trina lives a life free of crime and works in Peoria to help counsel youth (Age 64). Another success story from Wichita, Kansas concerns an eleven-year-old boy named Iman Reed. Young Iman had been hanging out on the streets and was a prime target for a revenge shooting. Out of fear for her son's life, Iman's mother enrolled him in the "Big Brother Program." This program paired Iman with a big brother, and now five years later, he has all A's and B's and has his sights set on a law degree. Iman is no longer involved with any street activities and encourages others to stay away. When asked about the program, Iman said, "If it was not for the program, I would still be in one of those gangs, or dead (Sheldon)." Juveniles should not be tried as adults because serving time in jail will more likely lead to greater conflicts. An example of this was "Sneakers," a Milwaukee gang member. Sneakers was seventeen years old and had been tried as an adult on two counts of larceny; each jail sentence was nine months in a security prison. Each time Sneakers got out of jail he returned to the streets, and was still involved in crime and gangs (Roberta). All that time in jail only helped him to master more criminal techniques. Sneakers had fourteen years before he was considered for parole. If Sneakers had been tried as a juvenile he would have received a light sentence and counseling of some kind to help him get off the streets. In other cases there are Prevention Programs which indicate that recreation and training programs can contribute directly to reduce the number juvenile arrests. For example, the Dallas police recorded a twenty-six percent drop in juvenile arrests after prevention programs (Cunliffe B3). These programs are not punishment, but prevention that were implemented to put a dent in crime. Kids experience activities that reward them emotionally and instill hope in their future. All over the world America stands for a place of freedom, a place of peace. No longer will America stand for this if we do not lay down stricter guidelines for todays juvenile offenders. America needs to be firm with these young offenders, not because of their age but for the extent of the crime committed. The future must also be protected, not put in jail. The problem can no longer be ignored; it must be helped. Rehabilitation has proven to be successful, and until these crimes can be completely prevented, rehabilitation is a successful solution rather than locking kids away. Now more than ever juveniles should remain juveniles in the eyes of the law; they should be helped and encouraged, not destroyed.

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