When tasked with convicting a felony caused by a minor it is difficult to actually decide how to trial them. There are many contributing factors to muddy up the already taxing process of a trial. The juvenile system in most cases is the way to go, which, other than preserving public safety, is more focused ensuring skill development, habilitation, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and the successful reintegration of youth into the community. The problem with that occurs when we focus on that more than we do the safety of our nation. The adult trialing system is a necessary facet of the judicial system when addressing juvenile convicts.
For safety and future of the juveniles, their crimes should be treated more seriously. What others cite to reason for opposition is that a smaller punishment will teach juveniles and that putting them through the jail system will only do more harm. I have reason to believe that that it actually reduces the chance that a repeat offender will commit multiple severe crimes. From data released in 2016, the OJJDP reports that known juvenile offenders were involved in approximately 700 murders in the United States. That represents about 7% of all the known murder offenders which are in the country. Between 2003 to 2006, the estimated number of juvenile murder offenders increased by 32% The study found that juveniles were far more likely than adults to reoffend after release across all states. The highest reported recidivism rate for juvenile offenders was 76% within three years, and 84% within five years. A slap on the wrist isn’t going to cut it when it comes to more serious crimes such as murder and robbery. If a fear of punishment and a firm respect of the law is not instilled from a young age, this number will only keep rising with juveniles not understanding the true consequences of their actions. The purpose of jails and overall, the judicial system is to rehabilitate and nip crime in the bud, if that experience is cut off to young offenders solely due to age, then the system is failing to end a problem before it evolves into a bigger issue.
For moral reasons, juveniles should be held accountable for their crime with little regard for the age of the convict. Some others may say ‘giving a harsh punishment to those who are young will do nothing but harm the convicted and do nothing to help the victim.’ Once again you can thank me for providing proof and evidence to suggest that holding juvenile crimes to a higher degree creates a level of certainty in the justice system for the victims. Although it does not happen often, young children sometimes decide to commit premeditated crimes, including homicide, and the criminal justice system must respond appropriately. It is immoral and nonjudicial to let a horrible crime get a lighter punishment due to age. There was a case when 10-year-old girl in the state of Wisconsin was charged in 2018 for the killing of a 6-month-old. State law required anyone who is age 10 or above to have their case brought in adult court. In this case, the 10-year-old girl allegedly dropped the baby boy, who then hit his head and began to cry. The girl then allegedly panicked, choosing to stomp him on the head to get him to be quiet. She told authorities that she was afraid that she would get into trouble. Prosecutors charged her with first-degree intentional homicide. Letting this child pass on this premeditated crime would be unlawful and completely disrespectful to the victim’s family.
From a moral standpoint, putting juveniles in the adult judicial system will provide a way to teach accountability. Though some may think there are alternative punishments to jail sentences for minors, the only true way to let offenders take accountability is to allow their actions to have consequences. Children are often a product of their home environment. If illegal actions seem like they are “normal” or “accepted” in their household, then they will see that as being an acceptable course of action to take in the rest of society as well. Juvenile courts do not offer records that provide an explicit proof of lenience that is based on age, but the sentences offered to kids that are comparable to adult crimes suggest that this is a conclusion one could draw from the data. At some point, society needs to teach all youth, no matter what their home background may be, that there are actions which are permitted and ones that are not for the greater protection of everyone. Juveniles being tried as an adult is one way that we can begin this lesson. Accountability is something that needs to be instilled at a young age. Understanding that consequences have actions. Owning up to mistakes and understanding punishment is how we as people function as a society and if we fail to provide that to troubled youths, there is no future for improving respect and rehabilitation in the youths today.
With this provided evidence it is reasonable to say that the adult trialing system should be the go-to format of addressing juvenile convicts. This is simply not a matter we can brush off and with this step forward into the betterment of our societies judicial system the floodgates have been opened to change it for the better. It simply isn’t enough to try to work with the shotty system we’ve been handed, we must confront our worlds problems for the greater good. For the safety of the community and the populous it is immoral to decide juvenile trialing as the immediate mandatory.