Juvenile Crime: An Alarming Development
In today’s society, crime, an act that is intentionally done to violate the law, has become more and more frequent. The majority of people believe that no crime should go unpunished. There is a serious controversy in the United States on whether or not minors should be treated and tried as adults. By the 1920’s, most states in the United States had separate juvenile justice systems. The juvenile system developed different procedures, provided separate courtrooms, and opened separate institutions for housing youthful offenders. Lawmakers feel that even though juveniles have their own system if they commit an adult crime they should be prepared to do the adult time. The juvenile justice system was developed on the principle that youth are less developed mentally than adults; in addition they are more susceptible to intervention and should be dealt with in a different manner.
In recent years, most states have changed their juvenile laws doing away with the minimum age requirements on transferring juveniles to the adult court system. Though many states allow only children 14 and older to be prosecuted as adults, others have set younger minimum ages . . . or no limit at all (Talbot 728). Twenty-three states currently have no minimum age. Some would disagree with the minimum age based solely on the fact that juveniles are committing more heinous crimes and need to be held responsible. Others agree, believing that juveniles have not fully developed mentally due to the fact that they have not lived, learned, or matured completely. Juvenile advocates believe youth should be punished but also rehabilitated and given a second chance at life.
An adult tried and convicted of first-degree murder can be sentenced to life in prison with out parole or possibly the death penalty depending on the laws in the state the crime was committed. This means that a juvenile tried and convicted of the same crime in adult court faces the same...