Posted: July 7th, 2022

Should juveniles be tried as adults?

Instructions

After reading Chapter 8 of your textbook complete “You make the decision…should juveniles be tried as adults” and provide a detailed answer to the discussion. This response should be a minimum of 300 words and be sure to provide the pros and cons to your decision.

Should juveniles be tried as adults?
More juveniles arrested for serious crimes are being bound over to adult courts to be tried as adults and, if convicted, will serve an adult sentence. Since serious crimes are those handled in the criminal justice system, the sanctions usually include imprisonment. Three models of incarceration of juveniles tried and convicted as adults are used. Most states place these juvenile offenders in adult prisons with adult inmates. A few states house juveniles with adults, but require them to be housed and programmed separately. And some states place juveniles in juvenile institutions until they reach age eighteen, and they then are transferred to adult prisons. There has been a significant reduction from the early years to waiving juveniles to the adult system which resulted in them serving time in adult prisons. From 1985 to 1997, the number of juveniles serving a sentence in an adult prison increased from 2,300 to 5,400.69 This number then began to decline, and by 2015, there were only 993 inmates under age eighteen held in adult prisons, a over 80 percent decrease since 1997. Almost all (97 percent) were males, and 63 percent of the total were held in the six states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, and North Carolina.70 Sixteen states and the Federal Prison System hold no one under the age of eighteen. The original punitive attitude of the late 1990s has lessened, and many people are reconsidering the prosecution of juvenile offenders as adults. You are to decide whether it is good public policy to try and punish juvenile offenders as adults. Either individually or in a small group, list the pros and cons for juveniles being waived to adult courts. Be sure to address issues such as cost, long-term impact on the juveniles, impact on the various sentencing goals, and protection of the public. You will find this is not an easy issue to agree on, and there are many good arguments on both sides. Once you list and discuss the pros and cons, decide if this is good public policy.
Should juveniles be tried as adults?
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Should juveniles be tried as adults?
The juvenile should not be tried or subjected to similar judicial proceedings as adults. The criminal justice system need to ensure that decision on juvenile offenders are made in the interest of common good to rehabilitate and integrate them into society. In this regard, juveniles’ trial as adults amounts to the violation of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits the imposition of excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment to the offenders (Steinberg and Piquero, 2010). In this regard, subjecting juvenile offenders to similar punishments and fines as adults is cruel and unusual punishment. For instance, the punishment for the capital offense is the death penalty, and the same penalty cannot be prescribed to the juvenile as in the case of the adults, it would be excessive.
Juvenile offenders need not be tried as adults due to the differences in their brain development. The juvenile brain is not fully developed until they attain the age of 21. The juveniles’ brains cannot make informed and right decisions as in the case of the adults. Equally important, the juvenile has a reduced capacity in problem-solving and regulating impulsivity due to their brain development stages; thus, they make decisions and take actions based on emotions (Walker and Woody, 2011). On the other hand, the adults’ brains are fully developed and can make decisions on the wrongs and rights. This fact makes it inappropriate to subject juvenile offenders to similar criminal trials as the adults in the interest of their long-term impact on rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The policy on having different criminal trials for both adults and juveniles is appropriate, but it has its share of advantages and disadvantages. In this case, the advantages of separate trials for juveniles are that the juvenile differences are considered and incorporated in the final decision-making. They are effectively subjected to growth and development programs towards rehabilitation and integration. On the other hand, the disadvantages of treating adult and juvenile crimes different include that an element of discrimination based on age is introduced in law, there is laxity on punishing juveniles, thus encouraging them to engage in crimes, and the court focuses on age and not crime thus disadvantaging the victims of the juvenile offenders.

References
Miner-Romanoff, K. (2014). Juvenile offenders tried as adults: what they know and implications for practitioners. N. Ky. L. Rev., 41, 205.
Steinberg, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2010). Manipulating public opinion about trying juveniles as adults: An experimental study. Crime & Delinquency, 56(4), 487-506.
Walker, C. M., & Woody, W. D. (2011). Juror decision making for juveniles tried as adults: The effects of defendant age, crime type, and crime outcome. Psychology, Crime & Law, 17(8), 659-675.

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