Juveniles should be tried as Adults Essay Example



Prison systems were originally created to reform inmates so that they could have a better chance at life. Juveniles especially, can change because they’re brains are not fully developed yet. However juveniles are less likely to be rehabilitated in an adult prison. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of juveniles charged as adults in the world.

Over the years more and more states have provided statutory provisions that allow juveniles to be charged as adults, making it easier to charge a minor as an adult. Juveniles are not normally allowed to be charged as adults. However, exceptions can be made for serious and violent crimes. A study done found that juveniles were more likely than adults to be charged with violent felonies.  If they’re charged with violent crimes they can be submitted to adult prisons. 

Adult prisons are meant to hold criminals above the age of 18 who normally have committed horrible crimes. Such places are not fit for children. A study was done in 1989, by researchers on youth in juvenile detention centers vs. adult prisons. During the study, the researchers interviewed children from each facility. The study found that almost ten percent of youth in adult prisons reported sexual assault or rape attempts while in prison custody. Closer to one percent of the kids interviewed from the Juvenile detention centers reported attacks. Furthermore, studies show that 22% of confined youths have attempted suicide. When children get arrested their custody gets surrendered to the justice system and the system is expected to treat children properly. 

The costs to charge a juvenile to an adult prison are incredibly expensive.  For instance, take LA County Jail’s (America’s largest jail) budget from 2016 which was 710 million dollars. According to the LA times there are approximately 500 youth in the LA County Jail. The average cost of incarcerating a juvenile for a 12 month stay is 15, 675 dollars. Multiply that by 500 and you get approximately 7,837,607 dollars. So 7,837,607 dollars for 500 juveniles for a year is approximately 90 percent of LA County Prisons yearly budget. That leaves ten percent for adult inmates, food, clothing, electricity, staff salaries, equipment and more.

The USA has more incarcerated juveniles than any other country. It costs a lot of money to keep juveniles in adult prisons and they’re unsafe in adult prisons but they’re highly likely to get sent to an adult prison. Many present this as a problem, but the question is will the problem get solved?