How often have cases with children and teenager taken place? Countless, probably. Now how often have those cases been publically called out for proper reprimand? Only a few. The intended purpose of setting up juvenile justice systems and creating separate laws idly for younger criminals was to seek rehabilitation rather than severe punishment. Lately, however, such purpose has been exploited by an increasing number of teenagers who are utilizing this poorly created system to their advantage.
The common ground in which most proponents for shielding juveniles with weak punishments stand is that adolescents are too emotionally immature to be tried as adults. According to the Washington Post, teenagers’ decision-making processes are characterized by emotional and cognitive immaturity and forceful peer pressure. Thus, advocates for juvenile crime systems propose that juveniles must be protected even when they commit crimes of a similar level to those of adults.
The essential problem lies here with the fact that more and more teenagers are abusing the intension of the system by committing extreme crimes such as murder and physical abuse under the shield that they are simply “young”. In other words, most juvenile criminals today are ought to be treated like adults as their crime levels equal those of normal adult criminals. The laws and policies that protect these juveniles because they are deemed mentally malleable are merely acts of injustice.
Surely, it’s not to say that the entire juvenile system should be completely eradicated. Some adolescent criminals deserve light punishments, those who perhaps have been put in jail for petty fights. Rather, the laws regarding juvenile criminals should be reformed to implant ideas of serious repercussions among those who are impending to work out criminal activities.
In order to remedy this downfall of the supposedly just system, citizens should work to trigger changes in policies as their immediate step. Unfortunately, policy changes do not happen in a snap. It takes fairly long amount of time to discuss the policy, get changes approved, and actually pass it as a new law. While it is worthwhile to pursue such progress gradually, citizens who are aware of this problem should partake their individual time as well to trigger changes in their own communities. Visiting the state juvenile prisons to listen to their stories and spreading awareness about what should be done about the unfairly increasing shield over young criminals could be few of the primary steps in promoting social justice.
If the victims of these juvenile criminals continue to suffer on the same degree as those hurt by adult criminals, it is ethical to say that juvenile crime system should be remediated. If not, it is plausible that the criminal rate among adolescents will grow due to their priority in being “protected” by juvenile laws rather than being sent off to adult prisons. As long as we want to build a safer place for upcoming generations, we must fix our world, perhaps in five minutes or less.