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Capital Punishment And Juveniles Revised Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Our country is one of the four countries since 2000 to execute adolescents. In the past five years, the United States has executed 13 juvenile offenders, three in the year 2002 alone. Eight of these executions took place in the state of Texas. The rest of the world combined carried out five such executions. Scott Hain was executed in Oklahoma on April 13 of this year, making the US the first country to execute a juvenile offender in 2003 (Death Penalty Info). Moreover, debate about the use of the death penalty for juveniles has grown more intense because of the demand for harsher punishment for serious and violent juvenile offenders and numerous contentions to the death penalty's legality. ...view middle of the document...

Advocates assure that by executing murderers it prevents them from murdering again and, thereby, do save innocent life. Supporters say this is proven when it is "[estimated] that convicted criminals free on parole and probation [...] commit 'at least' 84,800 violent crimes every year, including 13,200 murders [...]" (Sharp). They also argue that murderers have so violated the human rights of their victims and society that it should be a moral imperative that they never again have that opportunity. One supporter brought up the point, "Should we err on the side of caution and protect the innocent and honor the memories of those murdered, or should we give murderers the opportunity to harm again?" (Sharp). Obviously, those executed cannot murder again. In addition, many capital punishment partisans dispute that, "opponents equate execution and murder" when it is simply a valid punishment. Supporters disagree with their opponents and say that anti-death penalty factions' belief is "that if two acts have the same ending or result, then those two acts are morally equivalent" (Sharp). Well, no sensible person would see kidnapping and legal incarceration as the same so, why would they see murder and capital punishment as the same. They are, however, correct in saying that anti-death penalty defenders do not always see capital punishment as the answer.Furthermore, People who oppose allotting capital punishment to juveniles believe execution of a juvenile offender is contrary to fundamental principles of American justice. The justice system punishes according to the degree of culpability and reserves the death penalty for the deviant offenders. Opponents of the death penalty debate that adolescence is a transitional period of life when cognitive abilities, emotions, judgment, impulse control, and identity are still developing. Scientific, psychological research has illustrated that an adolescents are still developing in many areas such as impulse control and rationalizing. Juveniles are going through a "time of great change, cognitive skills, such as reasoning ability, impulse control, and an understanding of the long-term effects on ones behavior are still very much under development"(Stop the Internationally Illegal...). During adolescent transition, teenagers develop newly integrated system of cognitive activity, a system that is increasingly under conscious control (Kresnak 3). Decision making, judgment, the ability to integrate cognition and emotion may each be behaviorally and biologically sensitive to the everyday life of a juvenile causing then to act rash and carry out acts they would not normally think of as illogical and/or wrong. They are less advanced than adults in their identity development, moral judgment, assessment of risk and consequence, understanding of emotions and in their abilities to control impulses. These factors substantially affect how an adolescent thinks, appears, and behaves; these are powerful mitigating factors in a death...

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