Teens Should Absolutely Be Tried as Adults When They Commit Adult Crimes | Teen Ink

Teens Should Absolutely Be Tried as Adults When They Commit Adult Crimes

January 11, 2010
By hchs1259 SILVER, Houston, Texas
hchs1259 SILVER, Houston, Texas
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Murderers, rapists, and other criminals are being released from jail everyday after serving only very short and lenient sentences. Who are these criminals and what makes them so special? The criminals are juveniles who commit adult crimes. They are being tried every day in juvenile courts, they are receiving shortened sentences, and they are being released and given new identities to continue to live their lives in peaceful and happy bliss, all while their victims and their families are left to suffer forever. Because the courts and juvenile rights advocates believe that second chances should be given to youths who commit crimes, criminals are walking the streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes.

When it comes to trying teens in court as adults. Some say stop trying them as adults and try them as juveniles, others say they must be tried as adults when they commit adult crimes. I believe that teens should be held accountable for their actions and tried as adults. If I knew somebody who hurt or killed someone I loved, I would want him or her to experience the worst possible punishment for his or her actions. Some people say that children learn bad behavior from their parents, things like murder, rap or drug abuse; but I believe that children should learn from their parent’s mistakes. I agree with Jessica Wilde when she say’s “Morals are inherent from birth”(Wilde1). To me this is saying that kids, and even adults, should know the difference between right and wrong. Finally, put yourself in the mother’s position, if your son or daughter just died, how would you want their killer to be punished? How would you feel if you never got to see your child alive again while their killer served only a short sentence before being released from jail?

Now then, some people believe that we should stop putting teens in adult prison; they believe we should be lenient with them and give them easier sentences. These people argue that children are capable of learning from their mistakes and because they are children, they can be rehabilitated. Others say that teens are too young to understand the consequences of there actions, or that they don’t know their limitations with drugs or alcohol. I believe this is a ridiculous argument because teens shouldn’t be drinking or doing drugs in the first place. There are some people, like Hendricks, in his article “Stop Trying 13-Year-olds in Court as Adults”, who believe “They’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged then when they went in”(Hendricks 2). This is a good argument; however, can’t we say the same thing for adults? Why should juveniles be treated any different than adults when the crimes they are committing are every bit as heinous as adult crimes?

Youths who commit crimes are criminals; they are walking our streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes. I strongly agree with Jessica Wilde when she says, “All crimes committed by juveniles should and must be treated in the same regard, it not to punish heinous acts, then to provide justice to the families of victims (Wilde 2). As a child myself, I was raised in a family who believes in punishments, spankings, and repercussions for the actions of the children. Some say morals are learned, others say we inherit morals at birth, either way, a criminal is a criminal and must be punished as such. Should we punish all juveniles as adults? Probably not with lesser crimes, but some crimes are certainly more heinous than others, and those crimes like murder and rape are adult crimes. It really doesn’t matter the age of the criminal, it they are committing crimes that are inherently adult in nature, then yes, these criminals absolutely should be punished as an adult regardless of their age. Our courts, our schools, nor our societies, should ever allow anyone, child or adult, get away with murder.

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This article has 169 comments.

on Nov. 4 2014 at 5:15 pm
Paragraph 2, yea i hate it when juvinile offenders rap my loved ones... eminem is that you?!?

Your Dad said...
on Oct. 22 2014 at 11:41 am
Maybe you should also stay away from using "I" a lot. Don't you think?

tinie said...
on Oct. 16 2014 at 12:31 pm
i disagree with you as a child and i am going to use personal experience  i was taut right from wrong from the start doing wrong would mean i would get hit for my actions thats how i learned from right and wrong by the consequences i recieved  so why is it hard for a child to understand that murder or rape is wrong  what does it take for them not to be a child no more them killing more than 3 people is that when cause then it will be to late and why is it that for some things we want to be chidren for them and others we wanna take the responsibily as a adult

your mom said...
on Oct. 14 2014 at 3:10 pm
hey I am a sophmore at a school that shall not be named. I read your article and say that it has its flaws. I dont think children get influenced by parent's "rap" and I feel that putting your own opinion makes it look less professional. Stay away from using "I". One last thing, I feel that you jumped too early when paraphrasing Jessica Wilde. You should probably get some background information before posting an article like this.

on Oct. 10 2014 at 11:44 am
but what if someone killed your loved one and severed a short amount of time for it you would have to live with and they would just move on

on Sep. 15 2014 at 11:25 am
DjakobUnchained SILVER, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
5 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire" Winston Churchill

Teen brains are underdeveloped. You deserve a second chance because you're not the same person when you're 25 that you were when you were 15. Older guy wouldnt have done it.

ad#2 said...
on Aug. 7 2014 at 1:14 pm
You commit any heinous crime and get away under the pretext of being a 'Juvenile".? Is our society so ignorant of the fact that a CRIME is a CRIME.. When you have the brain enough to commit adult crimes then I don't really think you remain a juvenile. Not trying them would only give them a power to devalue a person's integrity. The people who are in their support are morons. What will they do if these very juveniles offend their near and dear ones.. Would they still stand up  for their support?

on Aug. 1 2014 at 3:51 pm
MollyM15 BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
– Voltaire

Children are children. Some children commit crimes accidentally or out of need. Some have commited heinous crimes, but maybe they were never taught better. Maybe in a Juvenile Detention Center they will learn right from wrong. In prison these children will be raped, and tormented in every which way. They will grow up to become even greater dangers to society than when they entered prison. They might even commit crimes on a larger scale than ever before, because our society didn't give them the chance to prove themselves worthy of change.

kay k said...
on Jul. 31 2014 at 6:56 am
crimes are crimes no matter what. it doesnt make difference if you are a kid. first of all you cannot be considered young when you commit violent crimes. physically may be you are, but morally, ethically you have brains only of a adult criminal. else you wont even commit a crime. so why second chance ?

on Jun. 3 2014 at 10:35 am
Children sent to adult prisons have a higher rate of recividism than those sent to juvenile prisons. By treating a child, who is NOT an adult, because s/he is a CHILD therefore NOT an ADULT, as an adult, you are simply creating more criminals. A child who commits murder out of impulse and desperation who receives the necessary attention and treatment will most likely grow up a standing member of society. A child who commits murder and is thrown into a box with a bunch of other angry old hardened criminals with life sentences and nothing to lose is going to, without a DOUBT, become a true criminal. Locking kids up and throwing away the key is just a pathetic, easy way out and it's sad. That's like putting a dog down for biting someone rather than sending the dog to an animal behavioralist that specializes in that kind of thing and giving him a second chance. The fact that there are people in the world who can honestly say throwing a child in prison can be justified is sickening. Who the hell do any of you think you are?

AYC4 said...
on May. 30 2014 at 11:46 am
100% disagree.  You are either an adult or not.  There is no middle ground.  If someone is tried as adult, they should enjoy the priviliges of being an adult.  It's not an ala carte package. Do you know what is juvenile?  Becoming so frustrated and allowing emotion to take over that you disregard a firmly drawn boundry regarding age simply because you want to see "your way" come to pass.  An adult understands that there are limits.  The +/- of 18 is a limit.  Anyone who is a true adult should respect that, no matter how momentarily inconvenient it is.

on May. 19 2014 at 7:58 pm
where's the evidence?????????????????????

on May. 15 2014 at 7:14 am
Being the stepmother of a (at the time) 13 year old who sexually abused my 7 year old son from a previous marriage, a student he attended school with and his 2 year old half brother from his mom's second marriage, I just have to ask...at what age does everyone consider a child/adolescent responsible for their crimes against other children? Does the fact that he sexually offended against at least 3 known victims not justify that others have the right to know of the offenses and have the right to protect their children from him? When he forced himself upon my son and threatened him with bodily harm and told my son he hoped his grandparents in heaven were watching as he molested him...it took away any doubt that he fully knew that what he was doing was wrong and should be held accountable. In our circumstances, I wish he would have been placed on the registry. One month shy of his 14th birthday before pleading guilty saved him from being registered and receiving nothing more than intensive outpatient therapy for sexually aggressive males. Although he has admitted to 3 offenses, he blames my 7 yr old and his 2 yr old half brother for "triggering anger and impulsive" actions and shows no empathy for anyone. For every person on that registry, I bet their is double that are not and should be! The laws are written for a reason and if you're old enough to be aware of them and the consequences of breaking the law, you run the risk of being registered if found guilty.

mr. shelly said...
on May. 14 2014 at 1:01 pm
I think it is good because if they do adult time they will still have a chance when they get out. I think when there in there they are going to think about it and decide that crimes are bad and thats not good. So they might stop doing bad things.

JTown95 said...
on May. 5 2014 at 8:00 pm
Perfect statement!

on Apr. 29 2014 at 11:36 pm
Wise1 I totally agree!!! What I don't think people understand is that if a teenager is capable of pulling the trigger on a gun, stabbing someone, raping someone, murder etc. then they are 1000% capable of dealing with the consequences that come from their actions!!!

amanjotkaur said...
on Apr. 17 2014 at 4:09 pm
i so agree with you crimes are crimes no matter what you do. if you think your old enough then you better step up your game because this isnt a timeout corner for elementary kids this is some deep stuff so you better get ready for it.

Zhadum said...
on Apr. 14 2014 at 11:40 am
The author of this article has just stated blanket opinion without looking into the issue.  All I am hearing is if this happened to my relatives I would demand the maximum penalty…..   Blah Blah Blah Honestly a waste of time reading the article…. This is however the top google result so I am going to bother responding.   First we start with the US justice system and why Murder 1 gets a harsher sentence than Murder 2.  It is about how culpable the person is for the crime.  If an argument ends in a murder in the heat of the moment, the justice system considers that Murder 2 and the murderer is less culpable for that crime than a Murder 1 crime.  In the case of Murder 2 the person could have been antagonized to commit the crime by others or the victim.  In the case of Murder 1 the person has had time to plan and make a clear decision to kill the other individual, with time for emotional cool down. So what was the point of all that… Simple in order to be in line with the justice system we need to determine if a juvenile is as culpable as an adult.   So outside of mental illness what causes a person (Child or Adult) to commit an attack, like a school shooting or a work place shooting?  Well it all can be traced back to stress.  Stress come into your life from one of three basic sources: Home, School/Work, and Social Life.  When you get stressed it leads to: Frustration, Anxiety, Depression, and Anger.  Once you are stressed in one area your emotional response can cause you to upset the other areas of your life and generate stress from all three sources.  This if not dealt with, will lead to a negative feedback loop and a person eventually breaking down in some way that can include an attack on others.   So how does an adult manage stress differently than a child? An adult can self-medicate or remove that area of their life to reduce stress.  The 5 major stress self-medications are: Eat Food You Love, Buy Something You Love, Sex, Alcohol, Drug (Prescription or Non).  If said Adult is so stressed all self-medication has failed the adult can remove that area of their life.  Removing that area would include: Leaving Your Spouse, Quitting Your Job/School, and Moving Away From Your Social Life.  If all that fails or is not an option an adult is more likely to commit an attack. Now how many of those options to manage stress does a 15 year old have?  Most of them have NONE of those options.  Meaning the child is completely reliant on the adults in his/her life to help them manage stress.  The adults in that child’s life parents, teachers, or other authority figures bear a large amount of the responsibility if the child can’t handle the stress because the child does not have the personal liberties an adult has to deal with it themselves.  As a result of this I would say a child/juvenile is less culpable for this style of crime.   Now one could argue that between Murder 1 and Murder 2 the net result is the same.  You intended to kill someone and you did same punishment across the board.  Well that would require a rewrite of the entire justice system.  If you agree that Murder 1 and Murder 2 should be treated differently, then by extension you should also be agreeing that juveniles should receive lighter sentencing.  This is how the justice system was setup.  Public demand for juveniles to receive harsher sentencing should NOT be considered as a factor, but sadly it is.   I feel that I have given clear axiomatic arguments for why juveniles should receive reduced sentencing, predicated on the current justice system.  If you disagree I encourage you to give clear examples with facts not opinion as to why a juvenile should receive harsher sentencing.  Emotional arguments or trolling will be ignored.  Thank You for reading.

Law-wen said...
on Apr. 8 2014 at 5:43 pm
Kenny, I agree alot with what you're saying, but I have a question about somthing you said. You said "If the kid never does it again then thats great!" So what if "the kid" commited murder? How do we find out whether they'll do it again? Put them in rehab for 5 or ten years then let them out hoping maybe they won't shoot anyone? I am for circumstance. I beleive some kids should get another chance, but alot of the time these kids are too far gone. I think we need to judge the child based on his background his apparent or unapparent remorse and even on drug history

kadman said...
on Apr. 2 2014 at 2:08 am
To any of you that think kids should be tried as adults, you are absolute morons with no compassion or understanding of the mental development of children. We should be doing everything in our power to save, teach and nuture our children. A kid is a kid, NOT an adult, so it makes no sense at all to try them as such. AND I further have the gall to suggest that anyone thinking the opposite would not be open their private life being open to thorough inspection of society.