Target: President Obama
Goal: Stop courts from transferring juvenile cases to adult criminal court.
Following a spur of violent crimes by juveniles in the late ’80s and early ’90s, a number of states amended their laws to allow for minors to be sentenced as adults. Today, all 50 states and the District of Columbia allow for this exception and have even expanded on it by allowing increasingly younger defendants to be sentenced in adult court for a wider variety of crimes.
The brain is not fully developed until age 25. Young men and women need to be given the chance to rehabilitate and learn from their mistakes. Consequently, these laws need to be amended to better promote a fair and balanced institution.
Many of the juveniles who have are sentenced come from broken homes with few positive influences in their lives. They make terrible mistakes because they do not fully understand the repercussions of their actions. While there is no doubt that these minors should be punished for breaking the law, sentencing a 17-, 16-, or even 15-year old as an adult with a possible life sentence is not only unethical, it has been proven ineffective. Studies have shown that after serving their sentence—if there is an after—minors who were sentenced as adults have a higher recidivism rate than that of juveniles sentenced within the traditional constraints of the law. There must be a better system of rehabilitation than simply jail time.
Please sign this petition and let your lawmakers know that minors and adults have always been looked at separately in the eyes of the law for a reason. Allowing the court system to override this distinction is an abuse of power and simply wrong.
Dear Mr. President,
The law allowing juveniles to be sentenced as adults was implemented in many states in the late ’80s and early ’90s. While those who break the law should of course be punished, juveniles should not be punished as adults when their mental capacity is still developing and they are clearly not mature enough to understand the full consequences of their actions.
Quite simply, this juvenile exception should be not be a part of the American justice system. Mistakes while the brain is still developing are bound to happen and need to be treated as such. More attention should be paid to rehabilitation than sentencing these young adults to spend some of the most important years of mental development, let alone the rest of their lives, in prison, surrounded by hardened adult criminals.
In addition to the questionable morality surrounding this subject, studies have shown that the recidivism rate of juveniles who are sentenced as adults is much higher than that of those sentenced within the bounds of the traditional system. This law has done enough damage to the troubled youth of this country and needs to be reviewed and amended. Moreover, those still serving sentences for crimes they committed while they were under 18 should be reviewed and possibly given parole based on a case by case basis.
Please take this into consideration and bring it to a discussion on the floor of Congress.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: asclaw.org