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Should juveniles be tried as adults? Essay

President Bush stated “When America teaches her children right from wrong and teaches values that respect life in our country, our country will be better off”. This quote was released after a 15- year-old boy shot and killed two classmates and injured 13 at a high school near San Diego, California. He will be charged as an adult under state law. I firmly believe that in cases of felonies such as murder or arson committed by juveniles over the age of reason, those juveniles should be tried as adults. The ability to know the difference between right and wrong is defined by as the age of reason. In some states, they overlook the age of reason and imply that juveniles under the age of 18 be tried as adults for serious crimes and serve longer sentences for the type of crime committed. Some people who oppose trying a juvenile as an adult may come to the conclusion that young kids do not realize the finality of death when committing murder. These people would argue that since a juvenile does not directly know a person then he doesn’t understand that this person is a human being.

The juvenile may not consider the fact that the victim may have a family and friends just like themselves. I disagree with this argument because the juvenile understands that he is taking a life and taking a life is not only wrong but cruel. Not severely punishing this young adult could lead to more criminal activity and convictions due to the belief that punishment will be less severe because they are a juvenile. If the state does not punish the juvenile as an adult for the first severe crime, then certainly the next time that same juvenile commits another criminal act, the court system should consider adult punishment. Some other people would argue that the court should punish the parent and not the juvenile. How can parents control every action of their child? By the age of sixteen, most teenagers have their own cars, have gained much more freedom, and can make many more decisions without parental guidance. Saying that parents are the only ones that can influence their child to make decisions is not fair. Even though some parents are physically or even mentally abusive to their child, that does not condone the child to take out their anger on someone else.

Parents are not the only ones that can influence a child, but teachers, coaches, and most importantly friends are the ones that can influence juveniles to make decisions whether they be good or bad. I believe that if courts were to punish juveniles as adults for felonies committed, then it would defer other juveniles from committing crimes. The peer pressure to commit such crimes wouldn’t be there knowing that the punishment would be much more severe. As a result, crime rates would decrease. Not only would punishing the juvenile as an adult save the public from one criminal but you could save us from many criminals being created and pressured into illegal activity throughout the United States. Many adolescents would have more caution to what they did and think about the severe consequences before they break a law.

One of the biggest issues of this argument is the death of a loved one. The loved ones of somebody killed by a juvenile want that young adult to be punished as an adult. They do not want for the juvenile to be convicted and then let out of jail at the age of 18. If they believe this person knew the justifications for their actions then they would want for them to have a lifetime to think about their mistake. They wouldn’t want for this person to have another chance of hurting someone else or even committing the same crime. Justice is what people would want and expect to get at the expense of a loved one’s life.

Finally, there are others who are opposed to juveniles being tried as adults and would say a kid is a kid, and not an adult, and should be punished according to their age. I would debate that by asking the question; is a 17-year-old murderer considered a kid? There has to be point where a person’s age shouldn’t have that much effect on the outcome of a crime. Whether they are 17 or 30, they still must receive the same punishment. I would assume if a juvenile killed one of your family members or friends then you wouldn’t want the court to consider them only a kid.

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