Taking another person’s life is an inexcusable crime. These days murderers seem to be getting younger and younger and yet juveniles are not being forced to face the consequences of their actions like adults. This trend is not a good reflection of the value system that is holding society together. First of all, from the age of twelve, moral values are generally in place. Secondly, if an individual is capable of murder at the age of seventeen, their outlook and behavior will unlikely change as they move into adulthood.
Equally, if juveniles are put on trial as adults, and therefore given harsher punishments, better programs can be set up to improve the chances of rehabilitation. Finally, juveniles are beginning to use their age as an excuse for executing a crime plan. Therefore, juvenile delinquents must be prosecuted as adults for serious crimes if this frightening trend is to be stopped. To premeditate and carry out a murderous plot clearly indicates a lack of conscience. If a child is properly raised, they should have a clear understanding of right and wrong by the age of twelve.
Moreover, the desire to plan and orchestrate the destruction of another human being is not something that should naturally develop in a person’s psyche. Given these facts, one can only conclude that people must be held accountable for their actions and those actions should not be judged more or less harshly based on a random number like eighteen.
What makes eighteen the magic number of responsibility? If moral intelligence is in place by the age of twelve, should twelve not be the magic number of responsibility in most cases? The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” (Unknown). Many argue that juvenile delinquents should receive a softer sentence because their unfortunate childhood is clearly at fault. Even though this fact is undoubtedly true, it doesn’t change the reality of the choice made, nor does it alter the high probability that such a bad choice will be repeated. In other words, by not implementing the harshest punishment immediately, one is putting off the inevitable while risking society’s well-being.
If the juvenile is let off with a lighter sentence because of age, what are the chances that the behavior will not be repeated again at a later stage in life and possibly to an even worse extent? If a juvenile is willing to make an adult choice, which murder certainly is, they should be forced to pay the price for their crime as an adult. In some places, this price means death. In others, it means life imprisonment. Can we really risk not following through in the strictest way? Many say that to throw a seventeen year old into prison is to seal their fate as a convict.
The chances of being rehabilitated in jail are very slim. Are we actually helping or harming our youth by opening them up to the reality of a prison filled with hardened individuals. On the other hand, if society does start handing out tougher penalties, they should also work on improving the rehabilitation programs in jail. By improving these programs, and offering more protection for inmates, perhaps the chances of effectively having a youth serve a full sentence and eventually be rehabilitated back into society is possible.
For example, study programs could be put in place that enables youth to acquire degrees online. In this way, the time spent behind bars would not be wasted and the prisoner would be preparing to re-enter society and make a positive mark. Many young juveniles commit serious crimes because they know they can get off easily. Juveniles believe that they can use age as an excuse to escape from paying the price for their crimes. Moreover, if they are not prosecuted as adults, they will be committing crimes in the future.
In addition, some experienced criminals use juveniles to commit crimes because of the lighter sentence involved as compared to the stiffer sentence they would face if they commit the crime themselves. Knowing that they could face death makes the hiring out of crime to youths very appealing. To conclude, juveniles should be prosecuted as adults if they commit a serious crime. This can decrease the crime rate since juveniles know they will pay a heavy price for their crimes as an adult and they cannot get off easily. Therefore, some skilled criminal will not bring juveniles into crimes.
Furthermore, some rehabilitation can be done to prepare juveniles to re-enter society. In addition, if juveniles are not treated as an adult, they will commit a more serious crime in the future as they know the price is not heavy. Finally, people who commit a crime are getting younger and younger; this can cause a serious problem in society, such as other people will start to panic. A juveniles’ life may be destroyed if they are prosecuted as an adult, but the lives of society as a whole are protected. Education is very important to stop such incidents happening in the future.