Juvenile Justice: Children Being Tried as Adults
According to Cornell University Law School, “Juvenile is the area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts.” This blog is going to focus on the issue of whether or not juveniles should be tried as an adult for committing serious crimes.
Why am I interested in this?
Everyone knows the law stating the legal age for going to a federal prison is 18. However, this law is no longer being enforced under certain circumstances. Over the years there have been minors sentenced to life in prison before reaching their teenage years. This doesn’t seem to follow what the law clearly states. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this up until my senior year of high school where my interest in this issue peaked.
Before my senior year of high school, I never had much interest in “juvenile justice”. Don’t get me wrong, I was a minor so the possibility of me going to jail at this age crossed my mind. However, I never looked into it much because I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Thankfully I was right, and I never got into too much trouble where I would be forced to go to jail. But not everyone was as lucky as I was.
About halfway through my ERWC class senior year, we came a cross a new chapter in the book. This chapter was on juvenile justice. The first excerpt we read caught my attention immediately. The story was about a twelve-year-old child who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a friend on a playdate. This boy watched a lot of wrestling videos growing up and he decided to try one of the moves he had seen on his friend. In doing so, he killed the poor girl. The family tried to sue the wrestling company, but instead the blame was put on the child, and he was sentenced to life without parole in a federal prison. From this point forward, I had a huge interest in this subject. How can someone so young be sentenced to a federal prison when the law clearly states you must be 18. I became interested in this topic because of the articles I read in high school which made me question which side I agree with.
The more I learned about this subject through the quarter the more understanding I had on the debate at hand. In the beginning I was very one sided about this matter and thought it was wrong and nothing could change my mind. However, we read some articles in favor of trying juveniles as adults. These articles gave some valid points as to why they were right, and had really opened my eyes to this debate. For the first time I didn’t only see the negatives, but the positives as well. Unfortunately, we finished this subject rather quickly, and I wasn’t able to research as much as I wanted. I feel like researching this subject for this class again will spark that same interest I once had, and will also help me to come to a decision on which side I lie. I am very interested to know which side I am in favor for after this course is over.
There are many different views on Juvenile Justice.
This issue is becoming a worldwide problem and many people are becoming aware of this happening. Whether it be from the news or school, the word is getting around and people are becoming more and more interested. Especially people who have a friend or family member who has gone through some type of situation like this is extremely interested in juvenile justice. I know if one of my family members was convicted and went to jail at a young age, I would invest an immense amount of time in researching this topic. Also, fight for what I believe in. there is a vast community of people ready to listen in on this debate of whether juveniles should be tried as adults or not.
Juvenile justice is a broad topic, but I am researching about juveniles being sent to adult prison for committing serious crimes to narrow it down. This way it won’t be as broad so its easier for the reader to follow along and not too narrow where it is too hard to focus. Engaging in this topic should be fairly easy due to the vast amount of controversy regarding this subject. So many people feel differently on juvenile justice making it easy for me to find sources. I did some research on a database and fount thousands of articles relating to my topic.
The first article I came across was, No One Younger 18 Should be Tried as an Adult, written by, Carmen Daugherty. In her article she explained that “Youth placed in the adult system had 34 percent more re-arrests, and often, at faster rates and more dangerous levels” (Daugherty 2015). This showed the ineffectiveness of sentencing these minors to adult prisons at such a young age. The issue I may come across is how recent the articles were written. When I look up “juvenile justice”, and “Children charged with life in a federal prison”, I get more results than I know what to do with. But 90 percent of these are written at least 3 years or longer ago. Not only that, but there are also a lot before 2000. The problem with this that I see is if you don’t let us use sources from last year and before, I may have trouble researching this topic. I know when I looked on the New York Times for articles, they had barley any from this year. However, if we are allowed to use a database, that may make it easier to find more current articles.
If we are not allowed to use the database, or are forced to use current articles, this may be somewhat challenging with these topics. There is one debate on the NYTimes database, which contains four or five articles. This will allow me to use those great articled throughout the semester, but beyond that It may become more difficult. I know if I find articles I can make great essays with them and be confident in my sources. All of those men and women who wrote the articles are smart, accomplished people who have some sort of title. This makes them extremely credible pertaining to my topic of juvenile justice.
Overall, I know my topic has interested me since high school, and still intrigues me to this day, making me very comfortable with researching this topic for the rest of the semester. I know their may be some difficulty in finding an abundance of articles, but the ones I have are extremely credible and from trustworthy people. Also I am confident I can search something else to find more articles relating to juvenile justice to get more timely sources. This is a great topic for me and thank my group for helping me pick my topic.
Daugherty, Carmen. “No One Younger Than 18 Should Be Tried as an Adult.” New York Times. N.p., 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.