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Age, Crime, And Responsibility

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On any given day you can't open up a newspaper or watch television and not find an article or a broadcast about juveniles committing crimes. The government follows a policy that no crime goes unpunished. The controversy that surrounds courtrooms today is whether or not a juvenile should stand trial as an adult and be punished like an adult for committing serious offenses. One side believes that juveniles should be punished according to the severity of the crime in which they committed. The opposition believes that juveniles are too young and immature to understand the consequences of what he or she had did wrong. So the question is should juveniles be punished as children or punished as adults? There are many theories as to the cause of juvenile delinquency, including one's economic background, substance abuse, delinquent peer groups, exposure to violence, availability of firearms and media violence, and lack of parental control over children. Forty-one states currently have laws that make it easier to try a juvenile that has committed a violent crime and is over the age of 13 as an adult. In 1995, Texas lowered the age a juvenile could be tried as an adult from 15 to 13. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana also have laws setting the minimum age a juvenile can be tried as an adult at 13. At age thirteen the average person is mentally mature enough to understand the consequences associated with committing a crime. If a juvenile, over thirteen has the ability and willingness to commit a violent crime they should be tried and punished as an adult. A thirteen year old knows right from wrong. He (or she) is able to tell whether or not what they are doing is right or wrong. If a juvenile is mature enough to commit a crime, they should be treated as an adult, and punished justly according to the adult law. The difference in age in two people should not determine their punishment if they have committed the same crime under the same or similar pretenses. This would include a juvenile committing murder with malice. Such a person is no different from an adult who



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