People who claim children need protection from transgenders in the bathroom are the same people who have no problem with that same child sitting in a jail cell with a convicted child molester twice his age, or so it seems.
Yesterday, a group of us discussed the school beating in Wilmington, Delaware that resulted in a death of a student and the conviction of three students with one being charged as an adult.
Whenever this discussion comes up, most people argue that if a teen commits an adult crime, they should be charged as an adult because they are old enough to know better. The more heinous the crime, the more popular this attitude becomes.
The legal age for drinking, driving, and voting is firm, but when it comes to going to jail, age is often flexible.
I tend to reject charging teens as adults for several reasons. First, it makes a mockery of the juvenile justice system that is supposed to handle all situations of people under 18. Why isn’t the juvenile justice system equipped to process and punish a heinous 16 year old murderer? Why must she go through the adult process as a teen? If a 10 year old committed the same crime as a 16 year old, should we expect the 10 year old to go to adult jail? Most would say no because they are too young, which is the same argument I make for the 16 year old.
It’s juvenile justice, not juvenile punishment, that we should expect from the criminal justice system when a so-called adult crime is committed by a teen.
The process how teens are charged as adults seems so random. I think it’s the district attorney or maybe the district judge who charges teens as adults. They’ll go to adult jail and usually spend months before a hearing. In the meantime, it takes months for their attorney to fight to get them back to the juvenile system while the teen sits in jail with adults.
By default, I believe the teen should be assigned to the juvenile system and if the prosecution believes they should be assigned as an adult, they have to prove it while the teen sits in ‘kiddie jail’.
Sure, some teens should be charged as an adult, but not just thrown into the adult system because the crime they committed was so bad; or a bunch of adults feel better if the teen is sitting with hardened adult criminals to learn a lesson; or folks want punishment to the full extent of the law because they believe the juvenile system doesn’t have the teeth to punish to the full extent of the law.
If you are inclined to protect young people from dangerous adults, you should not be in support of sending young criminals to adult jail. It’s contradictory and it lets the juvenile justice system off the hook. The juvenile system shouldn’t be allowed to be bypassed because they aren’t trusted to adequately punish the worse young criminals.
The real problem is that both systems are flawed. The juvenile system is in need a major do over, and the adult system is almost as criminal as the people in it.