Should People Less Than Eighteen Years Old (Minors/Juveniles/Adolescents) Ever Be Tried and Sentenced as Adults?

1509 words 7 pages
Should people less than eighteen years old (minors/juveniles/adolescents) ever be tried and sentenced as adults?
The legislation of trying and sentencing youth criminals under adult justice system has been a hot topic of debate. Supporters of tough laws on insist the need to enforce harsh penalties to uphold justice. The practice of treating youth criminals as adults since the 1990s is a result of the steep rise in youth crimes. However, youth advocates argue that tough laws should not be applied to youth offenders anymore. The core issue of the controversy is whether, because adolescents are biologically and mentally different from adults, they should be treated differently. For minor offenses such as property crime in which nobody is
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Therefore, not all of the youth criminals are eligible for detention alternatives other than incarceration in adult prisons. Incarceration in adult prisons not only serves as punishment for juvenile offenders’ mistakes but a useful tool in deterring youth crime as well. The National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers and 19 state attorneys general who support the imposition of harsh sentences in their briefs state that life-without-parole sentence is necessary to curb the continuously rising 2|Page


crime rate (Hansen, 2010, p.125). Evidence shows that introduction of tough legislation brings positive impact in reducing the crime rate. Oregon District Attorney Marquis says, the juvenile crime rate in Oregon has been falling since tough penalties began to take effect (Katel, 2008, p.108). Plus, statistics show that arrest rate in 2007 dropped to about the same level as in 1982, which is less than 300 in every 100,000 (Katel, 2008, p.105). This is about half of the figure recorded during the peak in 1994. Harsh punishment is effective in creating a sense of fear among potential youth criminals who are determined to keep themselves away from the terrifying sentences. They are afraid of being charged by adult courts and being locked up in adult jails. This sense of fear