Q:

Should juveniles be tried as adults?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, for certain criminal offenses, children are allowed to be tried as adults in every state. Although there is dissent about trying juveniles as adults, many organizations are fighting against it because they maintain that it does more harm than good.

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Should juveniles be tried as adults?
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Full Answer

According to the Juvenile Law Center, even though it is legal to prosecute juveniles as adults in some circumstances, research suggests that doing so has the potential to cause more harm than good to both the minor and to society. In a study conducted by the Campaign for Youth Justice, it was observed that juveniles are in much greater danger of becoming victims of extreme violence and sexual abuse in an adult facility than if they were in a juvenile detention center or group home.

Additionally, FRONTLINE reports that trying minors as adults in the justice system has little to no effect on reducing juvenile crime rates and further notes that it also creates a greater likelihood of recidivism. The Equal Justice Initiative seeks to find alternatives to placing juveniles in the adult justice system. Due to the efforts of this initiative, the Supreme Court has banned the death penalty for all children serving prison sentences and ruled that trial courts must make final punishment determinations only upon conducting a special assessment hearing.

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