Should juveniles be tried as adults?
In January 2013, according to the web article “Ten Horrible Crimes Committed by Children,” a fifteen-year-old boy named Nehemiah Griego shot and killed his entire family it began when his mother annoyed him. He shot her in the head; then he showed his brother the dead body and shot him when he cried.
He then turned an AR-15 rifle on his two sister; killing them. He later shot and killed his father Griego will be tried as an adult under New Mexico’s serious youthful Offenders Statute. This represents justice served. In fact, juveniles 15 year-old or older who commit serious crimes like murder should be tried as adults. After all, victims of these crimes deserve justice, strict sentencing deters future crimes, and concerns about the safety of minors in adult prisons are overblown.
Juveniles who commit serious crimes are often tried in juvenile court and, as a result, face lighter sentencing because judges often focus on rehabilitation of juveniles as opposed to punishment and place them in juvenile detention, which typically ends at or before the juvenile offender turns 21. For example, as reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune, two Utah 16-year-old, Brody Kruckenberg and Charles Nelson, were charged as adults in the homicide of Gregorio campus, the boyfriend of Kruckenberg’s mother. However, a judge dropped the adult charges and moved the case to juvenile court where the offenders were sentenced to juvenile detention until the age of 21 for the murder. This is not justice! Real justice involves serious punishment serious punishment involves sentences that are harsh enough to deter future crime. A study published on about.com examines an Italian study that found that even a small increase in a sentence, as low as a month, is enough to reduce recidivism by 1%.
In spite of all this, some people maintain we cannot place juveniles in adult prisons because we cannot ensure their safety. However, the Department of Justice has already set up guidelines that forbid juveniles from being placed in the general adult prison. Besides that, judges can give juveniles a blended sentence, which places them in juvenile detention until they are 18 and can be transferred to an adult prison. In conclusion, it is clear that juvenile offenders who commit violent crimes should be tried as adults when circumstances demand it. After all, victims of these crimes deserve justice; tough sentences deter crimes; and we can ensure the safety of juveniles’ offenders by following the guidelines established by the Department of Justice.
To fail to see this to fail to see the horror of people like Nehemiah Griego.