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Are we solving youth violence by sending minors to jail in adult prisons? In the article Tough Justice for Juveniles author Edward Humes discusses the underlining problems with the Juvenile Justice System. In this article Humes claims in paragraph 2 that: Our national fixation with meting out adult punishments to young criminals has blinded us to the underling crisis the juvenile systems shocking inability to impose meaningful penalties, or even supervision, on offenders before they become the predators we so fear. Personally, I agree with the Humes, the Juvenile Justice System is so readily willing to punish young criminals to the furthest extent of the law. In most cases without even considering, theyre prior criminal history or the crimes, that they are currently being processed. Humes illustrated examples in paragraphs 4, 5, 6, and 7 by discussing two youth offenders and the punishment that they where sentenced to after being processed through the current laws used by the Juvenile Court System.
In this article, the author clearly illustrates an appeal to authority by displaying a rational tone that isnt offensive and the author appears to be personally knowledgeable about the subject matter making his views creditable. The author also clearly expresses a genuine concern for the subject matter being discussed and offers suggestions on how to correct the problem illustrated in the claim. In paragraph 11 Humes stated: We can keep tinkering with the laws so we can ship more and younger children to adult court, but this does nothing to return juvenile courts to their original mission: to deal with young people before they become hardened criminals. I believe that Humes is trying to express a concern that most people have surrounding youth crime which is the fact that we dont want to send children to adult jail so that they can learn to become better criminals. I also agree with Humes in respect that there is a need to correct how we punish children that commit adult crimes. The age that a teenager can be tried, as an adult in most states is 16 in some states they are trying to lower the age to 14.
I can see how this is important due to a growing number of murders committed by juveniles but this law doesnt protect juveniles that commit petty crimes such as theft and burglary. I dont believe that we need to soften the punishment for juvenile offenders but I do believe that in some cases the juveniles can be rehabilitated with proper direction set up by the courts. In this article, the authors appeal to emotion is that of concern and sadness for the juveniles that are processed through the court system without a second thought as to what will become of these young offenders. I personally believe that something needs to be done about how the court handles these youngsters and how they are processed. This only added to my emotional response that the author leads the reader to feel and made me feel as though I should be personally involved in correcting what is wrong with the Juvenile Justice System. We need to consider whether we are out to teach them a lesson against committing crimes or turning them into better criminals by locking them up in adult prisons.
The author gave alarming statistics that appealed to my emotion as a reader in paragraphs 10 and 11. In both paragraphs the author cited examples and used statistics to shock the readers emotional response to the article. The authors appeal to logic is argument from causation. Which he illustrates by comparing the cause which would be the harsh punishment of juveniles to the effect which would be how they become the predators that we fear they will become from spending time in adult prisons. I agree with the authors views from this form of logic because the effect or outcome is a hardened criminal. From personal experience dealing with a stepsister that has been in and out of the Juvenile Courts since the age of 12, I have found Humes views to be correct.
My sister is currently doing time in upstate Virginia for three felonies. I do not believe that placing her in such places as TDH has taught her the true meaning of life. I believe that with help she could have bettered her self and finished school. However, because of her repeated offences she was taken away from her parents, who did nothing to better her outlook on life, and put her in a place where all she can learn is how to become a better criminal. I had no other choice but to disassociate myself from her violent criminal behavior and allow the court to punish her the way they saw fit. However, I disagreed with the way she was sentenced because of her age and the crimes she was convicted for.
I believe that with supervision and strict regulations she could have made something of her life but now I only fear that when she is released she will only come out a hardened criminal that knows nothing about life other than a life of crime because it is the only way she has been taught to survive in society. In conclusion Humes belief that societies need to punish young criminals to the furthest extent of the law only teaches them to become better adult criminals is correct. The solution to solving this problem can only be addressed by the lawmakers that pass laws regarding juvenile offenders. In paragraph 13 Humes proposes the following questions regarding youth crime by stating: How do we save first-time offenders from lives of crime?
How do we turn the best of our legal profession toward saving children? From those questions Humes states: Only when we deal with these issues will we start to crack down on juvenile crime. I believe that until our government develops a more concentrated system for punishing young criminals we will have more children that are lost in the Juvenile Justice System. I personally feel that without a proper system of government that looks into rehabilitation and supervision for first time lightweight juvenile criminals we will end up with an entire generation of hardened criminals running loose in America. Bibliography:
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Research essay sample on Juvenile Justice System Juvenile Offenders