Can They may also make more impulsive choices
Can you imagine going through the adult justice system at your age? Can you imagine going through a system that wasn’t meant for you and where no one is like you? Children as young as 12 years old have been tried as adults and have gone to adult prisons. Children and teenagers should not be tried as adults because their brains are not fully developed yet at such a young age, they are more receptive to influence, and the adult justice system is not helpful to minors. At such a young age, a child or teen’s brain has not been entirely matured yet. The prefrontal cortex is like the decision maker. It “weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions,” (RNC, “Brain development: teenagers”). The prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until your mid-20’s. Instead, teenagers use the amygdala, the part of you brain that is associated with aggressive and emotional behaviour. In return, teenagers are predisposed to behave more hostile. They may also make more impulsive choices and think less of the consequences of their actions. This means that they are not fully in control of their impulsive, irrational actions. Children should not be tried as adults. Teenagers and children are also more responsive to influence. “As their character and personalities change, teens are highly receptive to influence and intervention,”(Dawson and Jealous, “Stop charging kids as adults”). Teens are able to forget bad behaviour, as well as habits, and learn to make better and more responsible choices easier than adults. They do not have any chance of doing this in the adult justice system. On the other hand, the juvenile justice system gives children another chance to turn their lives around and better their lives. If this happens successfully, it is far less likely that a youth commit a crime again coming out of juvenile prison than adult prison. But what if minors need harsher punishments and “light sentences don’t teach kids the lesson they need to learn” (Reaves, “Should the Law Treat Kids and Adults Differently?”)?Youth who go through the adult system and go to adult prisons for their crimes are 34 percent more likely to commit another crime and get arrested again (“Juveniles Tried as Adults”). Children should not be tried as adults. The adult justice system does more harm than good to a minor. Teens in adult facilities are abnegated from the cardinal right of education every teen should have if they desire it. It is known “from numerous research reports that a lack of education…means higher chances of recidivism,” (“Juveniles Tried as Adults: What Happens When Children Go to Prison”). In adult prisons, minors are more likely to be sexually assaulted. In fact, the chances are five times higher for them than if they were in a juvenile prison. For this and other reasons, adult prison for juveniles can take a toll on them emotionally and mentally, which most adult prisons don’t have the resources to help the individual with. Children should not be tried as adults. The juvenile justice system should be the only option for minors because it helps them change their ways, at their age their brain isn’t fully developed yet, and it is overall better and more safe for a minor in juvenile prison. About 200,000 youth go through the adult criminal justice system. Would you been in favor of being tried as an adult at your age?