To change their life

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Should juveniles be tried and punished as adults?

In 1992, fifteen- year- old Jose Martinez and two older companions decided to change their life. They tortured and decapitated an eight-year old boy in San Jose, California. Even though Martinez's sixteenth birthday was only three weeks away, under the California law, the two youths over age sixteen were tried in adult court and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Even though Martinez's was the leader in the crime, his case was heard in a juvenile detention center until his twenty-fifth birthday, when he would be released (Clary). Since 1992, 45 states passed or amended legislation making it easier to prosecute juveniles as adults (Torbet and Szymanski). Juvenile courts in the United States processed an estimated 1,471,200 delinquency cases that involved juveniles charged with criminal law violations. The number of delinquency cases handled by juvenile courts increased twenty-six percent between 1988 and 1992 (Butts). The result is that the number of youth under 18 confined in adult prisons has more than doubled in the past decade (Austin, Johnson and Gregoriou). Juvenile crimes are serious and growing rapidly. Juvenile offenders should be tried and punished as adults based on the severity of the crime.

Juvenile Justice

Newspaper are constantly reporting horror stories about juveniles committing criminal actions such as homicides, rapes, and assaults on other children and adults (Juvenile Crime). They tend to take actions in crimes, not only, for the desire for material things such as fashion, peer pressure, cash, etc..., but also, their demand of wants and needs is intensified by social change. In addition, it could be the environment they live in or the people influence of people who they have in their life through the transition of growing up. An example of this is "The fiery attack on the Deerfield teenager." Fifteen year old Michael Brewer was confronted by a group of boys. He was retaliated against over a feud involving a forty dollar video game and a bicycle. The boys drenched him with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire, burning over two-thirds of his body. As a result, according to Brown they were sentenced with 30 years in prison (Olemda). Moreover, four of the teenagers who were accused of this dreadful crime had grown up where crime and violence was a fact of life. Some of the suspects were raised in families were both parents had criminal records for child neglect, and assault and battery (Brown et. al).

Juvenile Justice Structure System and Process

Juvenile offenders are young people under the age of eighteen who commit a crime. Today we live in a world of crime and the youth are responsible for committing a plethora of these crimes. According to the, Department of Justice if a juvenile breaks the law under any circumstances, depending on the nature of the crime they can be arrested or taken into custody by any law enforcement officer with a court order or a probable cause to believe the child has performed a delinquent act (Site this). Their case is processed by the juvenile correction act. The cases are personally handled by the magistrate division of district courts. Before the juvenile court or officer can commence before a juvenile court. A report must be filed of the alleged offense and with the juvenile court to be submitted to a prosecuting attorney. From here the rest of actions will be processed.

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Although many believe that juveniles who kill, rape and rob should be treated differently than adults; because they are not equal and children and adults have different standards set forth by law. There are others who believe that trying juveniles as adults is not right. Researchers claim their minds are not fully developed so they lack the capacity to understand the nature of the crime they commit. Moreover, they lack real world experience they do not have the ability to engage in logical reasoning and are not as responsible as adults. Despite this, they know right from wrong and it is wrong to harm another human being. Juveniles who commit crime that involves high amounts of violence, and murder should be tried and punished as an adult. If they were capable of scheming and commending a crime. If you commit the crime. You do the time.


Should juveniles be tried and punished as adults? Has been questioned for years. However, imagine if someone took someone you love away from you, and they did not get the punishment you felt they deserved because of their age. How would you feel? Researches claim that trying juveniles as adults based on the severity of the crime will lower crime rates.