What Happened to Juvenile Justice?
There is a great deal of controversy over the trying and sentencing of juvenile offenders today. Many will argue that because the severity of Juvenile crimes has risen, the severity of its consequences should rise; however, no matter how serious the crime is, juvenile offenders tried as adults receive far worse than they deserve. The majority of Juveniles tried as adults are hardly given any form of human rights. Adult jails are not the environment children should have to experience, especially those sentenced for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. There are other solutions to reducing juvenile crime. It does not take adult court to straighten out kids on the wrong path. Most children are not even able to recognize that what they had done is wrong. There may be no perfect solution to reducing juvenile crime, but there are ways far more effective than adult trying and sentencing.
When considering the idea of trying and sentencing juveniles as adults, it is important to know exactly what these procedures may entail. Amnesty International, a human rights group, found that Juveniles are often subjected to physical and sexual abuses while in detention (World: Americas Amnesty Says US Jails Too Many Children). An environment like this is far too hostile and dangerous for children. Not only does this environment bring on more punishment than needed, it is a major violation of human rights. How would a sentence like that make any child a better person? If anything, it would have more of a negative effect. Police records show that anyone sentenced to time in an adult jail, will most-likely return in a short period of time. Most reports and investigations, such as Amnesty International’s, show that juveniles sentenced to adult jails are more prone to violence than they would be outside of jail. Everyday, these children would have to defend themselves, and go through a violent struggle to get a moments worth of peace and freedom.
The other adult inmates are not the only problem with giving juveniles adult sentences. The facilities itself are not the right environment for a juvenile. In a study conducted by the US Department of Justice, a Baltimore detention center (in which juveniles were held) restricted showers, lacked proper mental health services, and served inadequate food. It is at this point that people must realize that sentencing juveniles to adult prisons is not only doing more harm than good, but it is simply unhealthy.
It should be obvious that the conditions of and adult jail are far too extreme for any juvenile to handle, but there are some that argue that most juvenile crimes today...