It is wrong to hold children and adolescents who have not reached legal age to adult standards. In other areas of law we recognize the differences between children and adults. Children are not permitted the same rights and responsibilities as adults (e.g. voting, smoking, joining the military) because we recognize their inability to make adult decisions. Why don't we recognize the same difference in the criminal law? We don't say, "this is a very important election, so let's let the kids vote". We don't say, "this is a very important war so let's give our children weapons and send them to fight". So why do we say "this case is different and this kid deserves to be treated as an adult and locked away in a prison"?
Juveniles should not be tried as adults because they can still be rehabilitated, they would be put at risk when they are thrown in prison, and being tried as an adult may have long-term consequences.
Juveniles can still be rehabilitated. With appropriate treatment most children who commit crimes, even the most violent crimes, can be rehabilitated and become responsible adults. Precisely because their brains are still changing. The prefrontal cortex - which regulates aggression, long range planning, mental flexibility, abstract thinking, and perhaps moral judgment has not yet developed in children. The amygdala, the center of impulsive and aggressive behavior is the center piece of the child brain and is left unchecked by the under developed prefrontal cortex. What this means is that the adolescent brain is incapable of distinguishing what is right or wrong and children are incapable of making the right decisions at this stage of their life.
Also, Juvenile detention facilities (generally) have the programs in place to aid in that process of reformation. Prisons do not.
The next reason is that juveniles would be in danger if they’re sent to prison. Children in adult correctional facilities suffer higher rates of physical and sexual...