Teens Should Absolutely Be Tried as Adults When They Commit Adult Crimes | Teen Ink

Teens Should Absolutely Be Tried as Adults When They Commit Adult Crimes

January 11, 2010
By hchs1259 SILVER, Houston, Texas
hchs1259 SILVER, Houston, Texas
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Murderers, rapists, and other criminals are being released from jail everyday after serving only very short and lenient sentences. Who are these criminals and what makes them so special? The criminals are juveniles who commit adult crimes. They are being tried every day in juvenile courts, they are receiving shortened sentences, and they are being released and given new identities to continue to live their lives in peaceful and happy bliss, all while their victims and their families are left to suffer forever. Because the courts and juvenile rights advocates believe that second chances should be given to youths who commit crimes, criminals are walking the streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes.

When it comes to trying teens in court as adults. Some say stop trying them as adults and try them as juveniles, others say they must be tried as adults when they commit adult crimes. I believe that teens should be held accountable for their actions and tried as adults. If I knew somebody who hurt or killed someone I loved, I would want him or her to experience the worst possible punishment for his or her actions. Some people say that children learn bad behavior from their parents, things like murder, rap or drug abuse; but I believe that children should learn from their parent’s mistakes. I agree with Jessica Wilde when she say’s “Morals are inherent from birth”(Wilde1). To me this is saying that kids, and even adults, should know the difference between right and wrong. Finally, put yourself in the mother’s position, if your son or daughter just died, how would you want their killer to be punished? How would you feel if you never got to see your child alive again while their killer served only a short sentence before being released from jail?

Now then, some people believe that we should stop putting teens in adult prison; they believe we should be lenient with them and give them easier sentences. These people argue that children are capable of learning from their mistakes and because they are children, they can be rehabilitated. Others say that teens are too young to understand the consequences of there actions, or that they don’t know their limitations with drugs or alcohol. I believe this is a ridiculous argument because teens shouldn’t be drinking or doing drugs in the first place. There are some people, like Hendricks, in his article “Stop Trying 13-Year-olds in Court as Adults”, who believe “They’re abused and come out more dangerous and damaged then when they went in”(Hendricks 2). This is a good argument; however, can’t we say the same thing for adults? Why should juveniles be treated any different than adults when the crimes they are committing are every bit as heinous as adult crimes?

Youths who commit crimes are criminals; they are walking our streets, living as our neighbors, and in many instances committing additional crimes. I strongly agree with Jessica Wilde when she says, “All crimes committed by juveniles should and must be treated in the same regard, it not to punish heinous acts, then to provide justice to the families of victims (Wilde 2). As a child myself, I was raised in a family who believes in punishments, spankings, and repercussions for the actions of the children. Some say morals are learned, others say we inherit morals at birth, either way, a criminal is a criminal and must be punished as such. Should we punish all juveniles as adults? Probably not with lesser crimes, but some crimes are certainly more heinous than others, and those crimes like murder and rape are adult crimes. It really doesn’t matter the age of the criminal, it they are committing crimes that are inherently adult in nature, then yes, these criminals absolutely should be punished as an adult regardless of their age. Our courts, our schools, nor our societies, should ever allow anyone, child or adult, get away with murder.

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This article has 169 comments.

jilliany2025 said...
on Mar. 24 2021 at 10:26 am
jilliany2025, Akron, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I disagree. Teenagers brains are not fully developed. While I feel like they should get longer sentences, I don't believe they should get full adult sentencing and that they should always have a chance of parole. My personal belief is that teens should be at most be able to be charged for either the number of their age, or even 20 years.

By teens, I mean people under 18. Once they're 18, I fully believe that they should get the adult sentence.

LiLRonRon said...
on Dec. 11 2019 at 11:12 am
LiLRonRon, Miami, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Mans be talkin bout if it were to happen to you, you would would want the locked up to no matter the age. That was Big Fact.

on Apr. 9 2019 at 2:14 pm
IMpublications, Weaverville, California
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
@ProudRepublican You aren't taking into account that teens should know the difference between right and wrong. Even if they have not been raised to know the difference, our society publicizes everything bad or good. And not only that, but not all teens are impulsive, yes their brains may develop impulse control last and at the age of twenty-five typically however have you ever heard that everyone is different? Speaking as a teenager myself I know a lot of my peers who are not impulsive and in some cases are more mature than half the adults I know.

on Feb. 24 2018 at 2:20 pm
ProudRepublican BRONZE, NYC, New York
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I don't agree. For one very substanial reason. The brain is not fully devolped until the age of 25. Adults process problems with the prefrontal cortex, the most rationald part of the brain. Teens do not. Teens use the amygdala, a part of your brain which reacts to problems with implulse, agression, emotions and instinctive behavior. That is why I dissagree with this article. Teens act on impulse and can't control it, adults can. (Unless you are mentally disabled, but that's a different topic)

I very much agree.

So ignorant.nice

on Aug. 27 2017 at 7:07 pm
Tinyperson BRONZE, Farmington, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is nothing impossible to him(her) who will try." - Alexander the Great

I agree 100%. During the Civil War, General Stuart once told a woman impersonating a soldier something along the lines of "If you're man enough to go to war, you're man enough to go to prison." Well, if you're grown up enough to commit a terrible crime, you're grown up enough to receive the punishment.

The Rose said...
on Apr. 20 2017 at 2:27 am
So ignorant.

LilliC said...
on Apr. 18 2017 at 9:18 am
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
A 12 year old is not a teenager. A teen is 13-19

kkkitty said...
on Mar. 7 2017 at 9:06 pm
this is really informative and helpful for my english asibnment. you have put a lot into writing this piece. however i just would like to point out that you said rap instead of rape. sorry im a bit of a grammer-nazi. alla in all good work

Drfootball12 said...
on Jan. 26 2017 at 4:41 pm
I truly believe it depends on the crime but I'm also worried about the ages some of these kids get tried as adults. The Slenderman case in Wisconsin is a good starting debate. Two 12 ur old girls, that were tried as adults for attempted murder. I'm not going to go over the facts here but I think 12 is way too young to be charged as an adult. 16-17 is a different argument. I'm not a bleeding heart either, I certainly can understand the victim and her family, as well as their community wanting justice. I think both girls should be remanded to a juvenile facility until age 18 or 21. Now if the victim had died then this somewhat changes the amount of time they should serve. 12 year olds aren't fully developed. Neither are 16-17 year olds but, the older teens have more of a formed final personality and belief structure than the 11-12 yr olds. I'm not trying g to upset anyone. I'm sure I'll get vile hate mail but I think we as a Society need to look at each case on their own merits. It's impossible to just lump all age groups 18 and under into one size fits all justice system.

JMDS said...
on Dec. 14 2016 at 9:14 pm
It doesn't matter on how we treat juveniles, jueveniles are doing way too much. I understand its not just the juveniles its also adults but when an adult do a crime is bad I understand because they older they know better so there's more consequences but when a juvenile commit a crime they just get a second chance. A juvenile knows when there killing someone, even though their young they know what it means when to kill someone, march 9th lionel tate who is 12 savegely beat to death an six year old girl, and thomas was 14 when he stabbed to death a minimart clerk. But when a 60 year old man committ the same crime these boys made he get more consequences. Why? Because he's older then the 12 and 14 year old man.

on Dec. 7 2016 at 10:59 am
For one thing, there is no such thing as an "Adult Crime". That's ridiculous. Whether you're and adult or not, if you commit a crime, it's still a crime so matter how you put it. I agree that some should take responsibility for their actions but what about minors as young at 10 or 11? You'd send them to prison to be broken and traumatized only to end up hardened, or dead? That's messed up no matter what the crime is. If your child did murdered someone in self defense but the evidence pointed the other way how would you feel if they had to go to jail at such a young age?

John said...
on Jul. 28 2016 at 6:05 pm
Well, is society ready to treat teens as adults in other areas? That's what it really comes down to.

Melliferania said...
on Jul. 10 2016 at 1:47 am
The juvenile justice system exists for a reason: kids are not adults. Research shows that adolescents' brains keep developing through their mid 20s, and society acknowledges that fact with its laws and the existence of the juvenile justice system. Teenagers cannot legally drink alcohol, rent a car, smoke, or sign leases, and so must be treated as teenagers by the justice system, not the adults to whom those privileges belong. Anything less would be a double standard. Certainly most teenagers should know right from wrong, but that simply isn't reality. Abuse, poverty, and an unstable living situation/family configuration may very well lead to a lack in good judgment. Sentencing a teenager for decades does not erase the harm they have caused to the victim(s) of their crime, but it does take away the perpetrator's right to make a successful life for themselves. Someone who is released from jail with a criminal record in his/her late 20s or beyond have missed out on crucial elements, such as employment, education/skills, healthy relationships/support system, that make it likely that he or she will be a productive member of society upon release. Moreover, a criminal record can make it extremely difficult to find good employment or housing, two things that make it less likely for the ex-criminal to reoffend.
As a side note, some crimes carry a punishment that has a disproportionate effect on their perpetrator. Currently there is a movement to reform the sex offender registry. Heinous crimes like rape and sexual assault put people on the registry, but so do relatively minor misdemeanors such as public urination or masturbation in a car (in the state of California). The registry treats the crimes equally though. Sex offenders have to register periodically for the rest of their life and each time they move. They cannot live near schools and other places children may gather, and some cities zone specifically to deny housing to offenders. Sex offender registries, it should be noted, are not proven to reduce actual sex crimes. And with respect to the juvenile justice system, children have been listed on it simply for being curious- inappropriate touching for example. These children will have to suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives, just as other teenage offenders feel the repercussions of a crime committed decades ago for the rest of their lives. Charging teenagers as adults commits a double crime: the initial crime and the crime of destroying an adolescent's formative years.

on Jun. 6 2016 at 12:20 am
sassy_scribe_777 BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
3 articles 5 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
Friends are God's way of apologizing to us for our families.

I didn't know that

KS627 said...
on May. 26 2016 at 3:33 pm
I honestly believe that your research is not fully complete. "The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States" This article and several like it show that currently 42 states have laws allowing children to receive life without parole sentences. Most of these children were between the ages of 13-15 when they were sentenced. So For you to be arguing that Kids need to be charged to the full extent is pointless when 84% of US states already charge kids to the full extent.

Guest said...
on May. 21 2016 at 8:32 pm
Why do you think so?

on May. 16 2016 at 7:44 pm
I think juvenile should be tried as adult because what happen if they come out and do the same thing again

machelle said...
on May. 11 2016 at 10:59 am
this article/rant gets a 10/10 if you're old enough to think about killing someone, you're old enough to consider consequences.