Trying Children as Adults
Category : Articles
Social, legal & moral conflict over treatment of children charged with serious crimes. Examples, penalties, juvenile system, history, statistics, accountability.
This paper is a discussion of the issue of trying children as adults. Recent reports issued by the Justice Department have shown an alarming rise in juvenile crime, while the headlines have spotlighted particularly heinous acts performed by very young children. From the kidnapping and brutal murder of 2-year-old James Bulger by two 10-year-old boys in Liverpool in 1993 to the beating of a month-old infant by a 6-year-old boy in Contra County, California, in 1996, violent acts committed by very young children have severely tested the ability of the criminal justice system to establish impartial guidelines for dealing with young criminals. Historically, juveniles have always presented a difficult problem for the courts, which must determine whether there exists an arbitrary age at which a child can be held responsible for his actions and whether age alone should be the…