When kids do something bad don’t you feel they should be punished? I am here to argue the case that when kids do something terrible such as steal, rape, assault and even murder other people, they need to be tried the same as adults. In many cases juveniles who commit these horrible crimes, “are exempt from being tried in a criminal trial purely because of their age” (Wilde 1). I happen to think this is very wrong. Think about the families of the victims. I am sure that if you put yourself in a mother’s shoes, “would you feel your child’s brutal murder was vindicated if the two boys who killed your son, purely for fun, were taken to juvenile detention, received rehabilitative aid, and released with new identities to live the rest of their lives with nothing but a faint memory of what they had done” (Wilde 2)?
Morals and the concept of right and wrong are basic principles that need to be taught by parents. Unfortunately, many juvenile criminals did not have this foundation when they were younger. In the many websites I have researched about juvenile rehabilitation, there is little evidence that juvenile delinquents can be corrected. I totally agree with the statement, “a lack of human morals cannot be treated or cured in rehabilitation centers” (Wilde 1). In trying to treat juveniles differently, many crimes committed by juveniles are not punished enough or at all because the judiciary believes youth behavior is changeable.
A great example of juveniles getting off the hook is found in “Juvenile criminals must be tried as adults.” Jessica explains how “two ten-year-old boys, living in England took a two-year-old boy, mutilated and murdered him, and then laid his body on a railroad track to cover up what they had done to the child” (Wilde 1). Unfortunately, these murderers were tried and convicted as minors, and were relocated and given new identities. How was justice served in this terrible case? These boys literally got away with murder.
When looking at my opponent’s argument, I feel there are some weak points. I find the statement that children don’t understand the significance of their actions inaccurate. In “Stop trying 13-year-olds in court as adults,” Mike Hendricks is basing his conclusions on his own children. There can be little comparison between children brought up in a middle class, well-educated family and street kids that have been fending for themselves since early childhood.
Hendricks also brings up the point that kids need a chance at rehabilitation. This is a very complex issue that has no easy solutions, “A lack of human morals cannot be treated or cured in rehabilitation centers” (Wilde 1). Wilde further states that these values are unchangeable foundations that a person has from the beginning, “people either have morals or they don’t: there is no grey area” (Wilde 1). The law is very clear on what is right and wrong. Children should not be able to pick and choose when they want to follow the law.
I recently emailed Mike Hendricks and asked him if he had any data or facts on the success of rehabilitation for juveniles. He could not produce any answers for me. He told me to research this, and what I found is that there is no clear supporting evidence that juvenile rehabilitation is successful.
Many children today commit crimes that adults commit. Children are often exposed to more violence than ever before in their video games, and media exposure. Parents are often too busy with their own lives to provide their children with the morals and values necessary to guide them in the right direction for life. We need to ensure that all crimes and criminals are treated equally for the sake of justice.