Do you think a teenager or pre-teenager should be given adult penalties for violent crimes? : LUSENET : Novenotes : One Thread

Do you think a teenager or pre-teenager should be given adult penalties for violent crimes?

-- Al Schroeder (, March 09, 2001


I dare say this case is an aberration and not worthy of a civilized country. You're old enough to commit murder 9 years before you're old enough to buy your own drinks? Those who thinks this makes any sense at all need to adjust their medication. And you can expect leaders in Iraq and North Korea to snicker over this for a long time to come. So much for "human rights" in the West, they'll say.

-- Magnus Itland (, March 10, 2001.

I work for a psychiatrist who does forensic psychiatric examinations on prisoners to determine if they are competent to stand trial. It's amazing the hoops they jump through to qualify an adult before they will go ahead with a criminal trial. One of the biggies is whether or not s/he had knowledge of the seriousness of his/her crime. Well, my lord--at 9, 10, 11, 12...these kids can't *really* have a knowledge of the seriousness of their act. They haven't even figured out that stripes don't go with polkadots, let alone have any real understanding (from a legal standpoint) of the seriousness of the crime.

I'm certainly not for giving them a hug and sending them to their room without TV for a month, but it seems to me that very little is served by giving them an adult sentence, especially if that includes being placed in an adult facility.

But the sad thing is that what is needed (and I'm not even sure what that would be) would undoubtedly be too costly, and I'm sure that the already overburdened staff (because *all* staffs are overburdened) would be ill equipped to provide the proper attention. Throwing them away by treating them as hard core criminals is certainly more cost efficient.

Ain't it a great country?

-- Bev Sykes (, March 10, 2001.

This boy's mother must be one sound sleeping trooper. She says that Junior was "just playing." Some toy. Some game. One powerful pair of maternal earplugs. The kid's sick; he enjoys torture. Jail won't help. Revenge won't help. I suppose that the court might attach the cost of years' worth of therapy to Officer Mommy's salary. Call it a traffic ticket given for sleeping at 100 miles per hour while running through a hundred flashing traffic lights.

-- Anthony V. Toscano (, March 11, 2001.

This is a complex issue and there seems to be a whole lot of knee-jerking happening on both sides. The facts are as follows:

Children who commit these abhorrent crimes must be dealt with fairly severely. It is true that they are still children, but society requires severe punishment both as a deterrent for others, and to help ensure that the offender does not repeat. There must be jail time.

On the other hand, there is no point in giving a child a life sentence. I'd say sentences in the 5-10 year range is what we need.

-- Dave Van (, March 13, 2001.

The boy in question beat his victim countless times, kicked her, punched her, slammed her head against the floor - her injuries were absolutely massive. He needs to be in custody for several years at the very least. The question in my mind is not whether he is a child or an adult, the question is his potential to continue to commit adult crimes - our responsibility is not to the boy, it's to the safety of the community. What I can't understand is why his mother kept turning down the offer of a plea bargain that would have only meant three years in jail. With a mother like that - one that can sleep through the screams - and then make the worst possible choice for her son.........Her police department needs to re-evaluate her ability to make responsible decisions.

-- Planet Earth (, March 16, 2001.

An old friend of mine was stabbed whilst preventing a mobile phone mugging in Bristol (UK). The young 11 year old was given 25 years! Just think in the US it could have been the Death Penalty in some states. The mother of the deceased, argued for and supported the other families call for a reduced sentance. As far as they were concerned both families have been ruined by the ordeal and a 25 year sentence (which may mean he could be released after 12 years). It was not the intention of the 11 year to kill.

Is it any young persons intention to kill? Or do they just go to far by mistake. Does poverty have to part to play in the crime, many other factors. Bullying at school for example, those school students that have taken their own lives because of bullying, have been murdered.

What happens when you get the wrong guy? How many innocents justify capital punishment?

In a progressive western nation this should not happen, it appears that the USA is not a progressive western nation. Death Penalty QED. The rest of the west are not perfect but we do not do that.

-- Richard Stephens (, October 14, 2003.

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