Should Young Offenders Be Tried as Adults?
"Statistics reveal that the recidivism rate is almost 5 times lower in the juvenile detention system compared to the adult prison system" According to Oxford Human Right Hubs' Thiago Amparo. Imprisonment among youths is more like a double-edged sword because yes they are being punished but they are not gonna learn from their mistakes when subjected to prison. Due to that, they are most likely to reciprocate to a life of crime. Therefore as a result of juvenile offenders’ mental development, spending time in prison doesn’t prevent youth from committing crimes or help them in ways that rehabilitation does.
Starting off, sending juvenile offenders to prison is unnecessary. In the text ''Prison Is a Poor Deterrent, and a Dangerous Punishment'', the author states '', the consequences of using prison as punishment for youth include higher rates of recidivism"(Daniel Okonkwo 1) this reveals sending young offenders to prison often results in an elevated probability that they will reoffend and return to prison with no progress, or even worse with adverse progress. Furthermore, the passage "Prison Is a Poor Deterrent, and a Dangerous Punishment" establishes youth in prisons results in "further increases in societal harm, and repeated expenses from paying for offenders to continue cycling through the justice system." (Daniel Okonkwo 1) in making this point Daniel Okonkwo wanted to illustrate that not only does sentencing juvenile offenders to prison deplete time and money by imprisoning them but also increase harm to society on account of the lessons learned while incarcerated. In conclusion, permitting this process to repeat is not only futile but harmful as well.
Moreover, emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment is critical for development. As noted in "Prison Is a Poor Deterrent, and a Dangerous Punishment" the writer claims "Youth should be treated differently from adults. Research on adolescent brain development does not provide an excuse for culpability, but it shows that youth are amenable to treatment in ways that adults are not."(Okonkwo, Daniel 1) Simply put Daniel is trying to underline that young offenders are still malleable and can be repaired using methods adults are incompatible with. Along with that according to "Daniel Okonkwo's Prison Is a Poor Deterrent, and a Dangerous Punishment" he states " there are certainly lifelong consequences to being incarcerated rather than treated in the juvenile justice system. The survival skills that youth (and adults, for that matter) learn in prison — self-preservation at all costs, using violence to resolve conflicts, and legitimizing domination and retaliation — are the polar opposite of the skills necessary to survive in society on the outside." (1) In using this example, Okonkwo is supporting that if an adolescent child is exposed to prison life which is counteractive for rehabilitation they will be instilled with skills that are irrelevant to ones needed to mesh back into society. In summary, the juvenile justice system is vital in the furtherment of the adolescents' society.
Many claim that there are many children from all different locations and backgrounds who do sadly take advantage of being underage to commit a crime and truthfully so. To begin with, in " Remember the Victims of Juvenile Offenders" by Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins she states ''The teenager who killed my sister’s family was born of privilege in the Chicago suburbs. He planned the crime for weeks and executed it alone. He had committed crimes before but never faced serious consequences" what Jennifer is trying to highlight is that this boy is aware that since he is a kid, he won't face serious consequences for his actions. While this is a valid point, punishing adolescents as equals to adults does more harm than good. Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins in "Remember the Victims of Juvenile Offenders" establishes "I talk to them about how their getting in trouble is a good thing. It means they get a chance to learn from their mistakes. The consequences are good. They help young people change and grow. They have been given a chance that I’d give anything for my sister’s killer to have had before his crimes escalated." even through Jenkins' horrific experience she wants to teach these teenagers the right way before their crimes escalate to something deadly and a life is lost.
Sending juvenile offenders to prison is unnecessary and destructive, in place of emphasizing rehabilitation is critical for change. If we corrupt and essentially throw away the futures of people who could be an important part of tomorrow’s society then we could also be throwing away the possibility for them to become someone who educates, innovates, or even saves lives. At the end of the day when we choose rehabilitation over imprisonment, we're lowering the chance of juveniles reoffending and building a better society for the people of tomorrow.