There has been a considerable rise in juvenile crime arrest and this is causing alarm to parents and the society at large. Sadly, parents no longer have control over their own children who continue to disappoint them. In the world we are living today, many juvenile have completely deviated from the guidance of their elders as they make their own decisions. Unfortunately, the decisions they normally make have only landed them into many problems (Ferro 43).
This is mainly because they lack moral support from their parents, guardians, teachers and church leaders. Apparently, most children influence one another into unethical behaviors that mislead them. On the other hand, some of them are often influenced by other factors such as television, radio and magazines. What usually begins as minor mistake usually end up into serious issues like crime (Giallombardo 35).
In other words, many young people are usually victims of crime as a result of trivial undoing. For instance, there are some children who like beating their friends at school, harass them or steal from them. In such instances, parents would be summoned to school as a way of solving the situation. If the guilty child does not change from such behaviors, he/she might end up into criminal offences.
When the juvenile commit crimes, they are sometimes arrested and taken to prison. The objective of this paper therefore is to discuss why minors should not be treated like adults in court. Depending on the severity of the crime, they should not also receive life in prison without possibility of parole.
It is so unfortunate that young people are engaging themselves into criminal offences. At their ages, they ought to concentrate on school work but not criminal activities that would only lead them to prison (Kupchik 101). With criminal activities, it would be very difficult for young people to embark on their books. Most of the juvenile usually drop out of school as they can no longer perform well in their studies (Giallombardo 23).
Other than this, it would be costly to withhold criminal activities in schools. This is because young criminals would cause disturbance to students and the teachers. However there are some juvenile who still go to school although they continue with their offences. Normally, the juvenile crimes include sexual offences, theft, drug abuse or violent offences.
According to statistics, most victims of juvenile delinquency are young boys (Ferro 71). Although there are young girls who engage in criminal activities, their cases are not as serious young boys. As a matter of fact young boys are more capable of committing crime than the girls.
In terms on sexual offences, young people are often found guilty of molesting their age mates or younger children. For example a young boy of 14 years may indulge into sex with a 5 years old child. The five year old child may be a younger sister, a relative’s child or a neighbour’s child.
Some of these cases occur as children play together or in the absence of an adult who can monitor them. Noticeably, theft as a crime is more common among young people. Actually, many children are fond of taking money or some items without asking for permission. Initially, they may start stealing petty things like pencils, rubber, ruler or pens from their friends.
With time, this may develop into serious theft if quick measures are not taken (Giallombardo 75). Probably, these children may develop a habit of stealing school equipments such as computers, printers or laboratory facilities.
This may also culminate into much serious theft that can only be handled by the police. In order to carry out their juvenile delinquency, young people prefer joining various gang groups. Through the gang groups, the juvenile are able learn more criminal techniques as they share ideas with one another (Ferro 55).
Punishment of Juvenile Crime
Over the years, juvenile crimes have steadily increased as governments are forced to implement strict penalties on young people. In America, juvenile delinquency has been contributed by the fact that many young people can acquire weapons such as guns.
With guns, most juvenile feel protected and can attack whoever they want. Whether to treat minors like adults at courts is a controversial issue that is still debated across the world. However, the manners in which juvenile crimes are treated in courts tend to vary from one country to the other (Ferro 90). Usually, minors can be arrested when they commit crime or may face death penalties in some countries.
Due to high levels of juvenile delinquency, thousands of young people face are often arrested and may even serve a life time imprisonment. Clearly, there has to be a way of dealing with minors who are constantly interfering with the society. Sparing them can only encourage more cases of juvenile delinquency (Moore 72). It is therefore the responsibility of the government to find out effective ways of dealing with juvenile crimes.
This is a very serious issue as it involves people who are future generation. If young people are left to do whatever they want, the next generation may eligible leaders. Narrowing down to criminal punishment, young people are frequently treated like adult criminals. In this case, the minors may receive life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
A court of rule can decide to give death penalty to a minor who has committed a serious offense. Other court judges may prefer to imprison a young person for only a period of time before they are released. Typically, there are government laws that influences the decisions made by judges in courts (Ferro 103).
While life imprisonment is an effective way of punishing criminals, it has proved to be costly as governments spend a lot of money in purchasing prison facilities. Maintaining criminals is very expensive because of many cases of juvenile delinquency.
Basically, prisoners have to eat, get shelter and have sleeping facilities like beds (Moore 48). It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that they receive the necessary facilities. Because of this reason, there are some governments who prefer to use death penalties on young people.
California is an example of a country which is facing financial problems as a result of spending much money in its prisons. As such, the country has opted to release some criminals out of state jail (Kupchik 112).
Reasons why minors should not be treated like adults in courts
Primarily, young children should not be treated like adults in courts because some of them are still naïve. Brain wise, these minor are not in a position to make sensible decisions (Moore 81). No matter the intension of a juvenile crime, minors should not receive life in prison without possibility of parole.
Unlike adults, several children commit crime without knowing what they are doing. They might commit a crime because someone else has done the same. Adults on the other hand should account for their crimes since they are always conscious of the consequences. Minors deserve second chances as they can change if proper measures are taken. In as much as they may be wrong, young people must not be given death penalties.
Life imprisonment is not also a good option for juvenile criminals (Kupchik 78). For adults, they can receive life imprisonment and death penalties because they have few years to live than the young people. As a matter of fact, minors are future generation of who still have a long way to go.
Receiving life in prison without possibility of parole would prevent minors from realising their mistakes. Life imprisonment would only increase their criminal activities as they are confined in the prisons. Giving death penalties to juvenile can also make other minors more violent (Greenwald 33). In this case, treating minors like adults is a way of provoking a large number of youths.
Another reason why young people must not be treated like adults is because they may not be able to withstand a lot of pain. More often, adult prisoners are beaten up as a way of punishment. If the same is applied to juvenile delinquency, many minors would go through much pain. Considering the period of lifetime imprisonment, these minors may die before they even reach middle age (Greenwald 84).
For adults, they have fully developed body structures that can sustain hardships like carrying heavy loads in prison. Unfortunately, this may be tedious for young people who are still growing.
Carrying heavy loads might completely interfere with the growth of young people. There are better ways of handling children without treating them like adults. Instead of treating them like adults, young people can be taken to rehabilitation places where they can change their behaviour.
Fundamentally, juvenile delinquency should be treated with special care as they are the future generation. Moreover they must not be treated like adults who are usually aware of their actions. Young people generally deserve a second chance and do not have to face death penalties or life imprisonment.
Ferro, Jeffrey. Juvenile crime. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Giallombardo, Rose. Juvenile delinquency: a book of reading. California: Wiley.
Greenwald, Ricky. Trauma and juvenile delinquency: theory, research, and interventions. New York: The Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press.
Kupchik, Aaron. Judging juveniles: prosecuting adolescents in adult and juvenile courts. NY: New York University.
Moore, Lawrence. Juvenile crime: current issues and background. NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.