People can commit crimes at any point in their life, even when they are young and have not reached legal age. At the same time, both children and adults are capable of severe actions, which can guarantee them a life sentence in prison. Kids Behind Bars is a documentary that provides an in-depth insight into the aspirations of former child offenders sentenced to life in prison.
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Kids Behind Bars Reflections
The movie enables the audience to understand that many of the child offenders were victims of circumstances who did not deserve their sentences. Yet, as demonstrated by official statistics, the majority of waivers to transfer juveniles to adult courts get granted, which shows how inhumane the current practices are (Juvenile Justice, 2019). Children who commit crimes are largely influenced by their peers, lack of education, and poor relationships with caretakers (Kratcoski et al., 2019). Thus, it would be reasonable to try juveniles as adults only under the circumstances that they commit grave offenses at least twice and provide rehabilitative programs to those who do it for the first time.
When watching the movie, I discovered that the Supreme Court actually recognized life without parole sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. The three main concepts of the film are that juvenile offenders always regret what they did, child criminals often suffer abuse, and usually, they fail to change their life sentences. The most interesting material covered in the film was Curtis Brooks’ case, where he was sentenced to life in prison without actually murdering anyone (Diaz, 2021). The movie did not have any incorrect assumptions, and the predictions about juvenile delinquency rates mentioned were correct.
The case of Nathaniel presents a similar situation of when a juvenile who experienced abuse at home accidentally murdered another person. Troubled children such as Nathaniel should not need to face a prison environment; instead, offering them a rehabilitation program would be more effective. Although children such as Nathaniel should be held responsible for their actions, they must not be treated as adults. Therefore, as a governor, I would pardon Nathaniel and will ensure that he receives therapy.
Kids Behind Bars is a movie that highlights the existence of inhumane practices such as adult trials for juveniles. The film shows that the majority of child offenders repent of their actions. The movie demonstrates that it would be reasonable to offer rehabilitation to juvenile criminals instead of prison.
Diaz, M. (Director). (2021). Curtis [Documentary episode]. In M. Diaz (Executive producer), Kids behind bars: Life or parole; New York, NY: A&E.
Juvenile Justice Commission. (2019). Juvenile waiver practice in New Jersey. Web.
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Kratcoski, P., Kratcoski, L., & Kratcoski, P.C. (2019). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, research, and the juvenile justice process (6th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Nature.