Juveniles Tried As Adults Pros and Cons List

Juvenile offenders are being tried at an alarmingly high rate, as the American justice system seeks to catch potential career criminals at a young age and remove them from the streets for good. While some believe that this a salient strategy, there are others who do not see the benefits. The pros and cons for each viewpoint are numerous, so let’s take a closer look.

List of Pros of Juveniles Tried as Adults

1. Crimes Are Crimes.
Those who believe in the benefits of trying juveniles as adults are firm believers in the fact that a crime is a crime, no matter how old the person is who committed it. If juveniles are given more lenient punishments, this does not discourage them from committing crimes in the future and may even bolster their belief that they can successfully get away with it.

2. Scaring Young Criminals Straight.
When juveniles are forced to follow the same rules as their older counterparts, this teaches them a valuable lesson about committing crimes. Being forced to spend time in prison around hardened criminals can often have the effect of scaring a wayward child straight. The fear of going back to prison for good is usually instrumental, as it forces a child to change their ways.

3. Lowers The Crime Rate.
Trying children as adults has the effect of lowering the overall rate of crime and allowing us to live in a much safer society. Removing menaces from the streets, no matter how young they may be, has a calming effect on society as a whole. Children that see their peers receiving harsh punishments are also much less likely to commit crimes of their own.

List of Cons of Juveniles Tried as Adults

1. Lack of Understanding.
Studies have shown that the brain of a juvenile has yet to fully develop, which can hinder their sense of knowing right from wrong. Those who do not agree with trying juveniles as adults point to this fact and urge lawmakers not to throw the book at a child who may have made a one time only mistake.

2. Jail Time Affects Them Differently.
A juvenile is not always going to sit in jail and think long and hard about what they have done. An adult is typically more remorseful about the crime they’ve committed, because they have more life experience and a greater understanding of the consequences. Adolescents will often repress their feelings about the crime and emerge from jail in the same mind state that they went in with.

3. Parents Take Less Responsibility.
Sending a juvenile to jail for a crime that they have committed essentially lets parents completely off the hook for what has taken place. Parents who fail to teach their child right from wrong should also be forced to shoulder some of the consequences for their child’s actions.