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Poll

Question: When should children be charged as adults?

Options:

When the crime is a serious felony (assualt, murder, etc)

When the child is over the age 16

When the victim's families request it

Never, they are kids


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 37

View Results

 Some of you might know I'm a huge crime buff. I'm often fascinated, and mildly horrified, at the vast differences from state to state (and country to country) when it comes to crime and punishment.

It is not uncommon for children who commit felonies to be tried and convicted as adults here in the US - there was a story several years back of a 10 year old who killed his 6 year old neighbor and he got life in prison. Whereas it's more common in other industrialized nations for child offenders to face reabilitation (since statistically child-offenders are unlikely to re-offend). For instance, in Canada several years ago, a 12 year old girl arranged with her 26 year old boyfriend to have her parents and brother killed. She will be released from youth rehabilitation when she turns 21.

So, I started to wonder....we have a large variety of backgrounds here....what are your thoughts on youth offenders. ...

I ask because of the popularity recently of charging bullies with harassment/assualt. These are often children harassing other children. Are we considering locking these kids up and throwing away the key?

I'm a mom of a child on the autism spectrum. So the following story breaks my heart imagining this happening to my son. The older teen is being charged as an adult while the younger has initially been charged as a juvenile (but they are considering upping the charges)..

2 MD Teen Girls Accused Of Turturing an Autistic Boy

Maryland – Police say two Maryland teenagers recorded themselves physically assaulting an autistic classmate and forcing him to perform sex acts, some with animals.

St. Mary County Sheriff’s Department said 17-year-old Lauren Bush and an unidentified 15-year-old girl admitted they assaulted the 16-year-old autistic boy with a knife on multiple occasions between December and February.

Sheriff Tim Cameron said all three teens attend Chopticon High School and that the girls preyed on the boy. They allegedly assaulted him with a knife, kicked him in the groin, dragged him by the hair, coerced him to engage in a sex act with an animal, and forced him to walk on a partially frozen pond where he fell through the ice.

The latter act being a possibly deadly one according to Sgt. Cara Grumbels. ”You’re dealing with somebody who doesn’t have the mental capacity of you and I,” she said. “Somebody like that could go into a kiddie pool and may not be able to get themselves out. That’s what’s really kind of disturbing to us, among the other allegations in this case. The whole thing’s just very disturbing.”

Police got involved after the younger girl’s mother found video of the bullying on her daughter’s cell phone and showed the video to a sheriff’s deputy who works in the school. Both girls admitted to the assaults. Police say there is no evidence that the videos were posted online or any that other students were involved.

Lauren Bush has been charged as an adult, while the 15-year-old was charged as a juvenile. They’ve each been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, child pornography and false imprisonment.



Read more: http://www.dreamindemon.com/2014/03/13/lauren-bush-teen-girls-accused-forcing-autistic-boy-perform-sex-acts-knifepoint/#ixzz2wGG3Ortc
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
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http://bcove.me/8uygzegr

 

by on Mar. 17, 2014 at 6:23 PM
Replies (21-30):
Meadowchik
by New Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM

 In this case it might be appropriate.  However I have heard of kids as young as 14 being charged as adults, but the mother had a hand in the decision.  it doesn't seem right to me that, if the mother's help is required, then somehow the child is not capable of being tried as an adult.  Does that make sense?

Meadowchik
by New Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:08 AM

 I think this is the case I was thinking of, but the boy was 12 at the time of the crime.  His mother was also 12 when he was born, btw, and she waited more than 7 hours before taking the beaten toddler to the hospital.  Doctors say he could have been saved if she hadn't waited.  so, so sad:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/boy-13-accused-killing-2-year-old-brother-youngest-florida-inmate-awaiting-trial-article-1.1161131?pgno=1

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM

I have been one to say that in the past. That the parents need to be held accountable. But the reason the behavior stopped was one of the moms of the girls found the videos and turned in her daughter to the police. So I can't see it like this mom is one of those jerk parents who modeled such behavior. 

I in no way condone such behavior. Ever. I know with my son, who is also autistic, he will enthusiastically do whatever you ask him to do - even at a danger to himself. So it may be (I haven't seen the videos so don't know) that these girls pushed things too far. They should be charged for harassment, but I don't think locking them up and throwing away the key is the answer. I hesitate to say any child is broken beyond redemption. 

Quoting Jenn8604: No they are perverted FREAKS!!! They're parents need jail time while they need tortured the way they tortured him.
Quoting AutymsMommy: These are children too.
Quoting Jenn8604: Charge them as adults I do not think the cruel and unusual punishment law should exist. I say these girls, and others like them, need to have the cruel and unusual torture they put people through done to them.


KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM

I would agree that if you ask a 10 y/o if killing is ok, they would all say no. But I think they might enact behaviors that would lead to death, not realizing that is what killing is. 

Quoting chotovec82: Kids who are old enough to know better should be locked up. Sorry you know not to kill someone, to rape someone, to force sexual acts upon them, etc... So I think it should be case by case. I also think that there is a certain age of accountibility. I'd say generally 10. 10 yr olds know killing is wrong, raping or forcing sexual acts, stealing, etc...


Chasing3
by Bronze Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:41 AM

I guess I think a child should be provided with rehabilitation. But clearly we don't really have any sort of effective rehabilitation in our prison system. In fact, it seems anyone who comes out is more likely to be an even more hardened criminal.

What is the most tragic to me is I believe something sinister went on in a kid's life to make them come up with these kinds of ideas. I think there is always a cycle of abuse. Some people can be amazingly resiliant and escape it. Some people become criminally insane and socipathic.

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM

For argument sake here are some of the stat's on juvenile offenders - 

Frontline 

DOES TREATING JUVENILES AS ADULTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Two assumptions are behind recent legislation passed in many U.S. states which make it easier to try juvenile offenders as adults.

 

  • Young offenders will receive sentences in the adult criminal system which are harsher and more proportional to their crimes.

     

  • The threat of this harsher punishment will result in lowered juvenile crime rates.

Although there has not been extensive research into the deterrent effects of the stricter laws, the evidence that does exist indicates that deterrent effects are minimal or nonexistent, and that, in fact, trying juveniles in criminal court may actually result in higher rates of reoffending.

Does treating juveniles as adults help reduce crime?

To date, only two studies have examined whether stricter transfer laws result in lowered juvenile crime rates. Both found that there was no evidence to support that the laws had the intended effect.

Criminologists Simon Singer and David McDowell evaluated the effects of New York's Juvenile Offender Law on the rate of serious juvenile crime. This landmark piece of legislation was passed in 1978, and lowered the age of criminal court jurisdiction to thirteen for murder, and to fourteen for rape, robbery, assault, and violent categories of burglary. Singer and McDowell analyzed juvenile arrest rates in New York for four years prior to the enactment of the law, and six years after. These rates were compared with those for control groups of thirteen and fourteen year olds in Philadelphia, and with slightly older offenders in New York. The researchers found that the threat of adult criminal sanctions had no effect on the levels of serious juvenile crime.[3]

A later study by social scientists Eric Jensen and Linda Metsger reached a similar conclusion. They sought to evaluate the deterrent effect of the transfer statute passed in Idaho in 1981, which required that juveniles charged with certain serious crimes (murder, attempted murder, robbery, forcible rape, and mayhem) be tried as adults. They examined arrest rates for five years before and five years after the passage of the law, and found no evidence that it had any deterrent effect on the level of juvenile crime in Idaho.[4] The researchers also compared the arrest rates for the target offenses with those in neighboring states Montana and Wyoming, which were demographically similar to Idaho, and had in place a discretionary waiver system similar to the system Idaho had before the new legislation. They found that juvenile arrests for the offenses targeted by the legislation actually increased in Idaho, while decreasing in the other two states.[5]

Do kids who receive adult penalties reoffend less often than their peers who
are treated as juveniles?

Two recent large-scale studies indicate that juveniles who receive harsher penalties when tried as adults are not "scared straight." In fact, after their release, they tend to reoffend sooner and more often than those treated in the juvenile system.

Columbia University researcher Jeffrey Fagan compared15- and 16-year olds charged with robbery and burglary in four similar communities in New York and New Jersey. Both states had similar statutes for first- and second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary. However, in New York, 15 and 16 year olds' cases originated in criminal court, while in New Jersey they were adjudicated in juvenile court. The sample consisted of 400 robbery offenders and 400 burglary offenders randomly selected. Fagan examined the recidivism rates of offenders from each state after their release. He found that while there were no significant differences in the effects of criminal versus juvenile court processing for burglary offenders, there were substantial differences in recidivism among robbery offenders . Seventy-six percent of robbers prosecuted in criminal court were rearrested, as compared with 67% of those processed in juvenile court. A significantly higher proportion of the criminal group were subsequently reincarcerated (56% vs. 41%). And those that did reoffend did so sooner after their release.[6]

A 1996 Florida study authored by Northeastern University researcher Donna Bishop also found that juveniles transferred to the criminal system were not less likely to reoffend, but in fact often had higher rates of recidivism. This research compared the recidivism rates of 2,738 juvenile offenders transferred to criminal court in Florida with a matched sample of nontransferred juveniles. Bishop and her colleagues found that although juveniles tried as adults were more likely to be incarcerated, and incarcerated for longer than those who remained in the juvenile system, they also had a higher recidivism rate. Within two years, they were more likely to reoffend, to reoffend earlier, to commit more subsequent offenses, and to commit more serious subsequent offenses than juveniles retained in the juvenile system. The authors concluded that:

"The findings suggest that transfer made little difference in deterring youths from reoffending. Adult processing of youths in criminal court actually increases recidivism rather than [having] any incapacitative effects on crime control and community protection."[7]

Following the same offenders six years after their initial study, the researchers again found higher recidivism rates for most juveniles transferred to criminal court. The exceptions were property felons, who were somewhat less likely to reoffend than those tried in juvenile court, although those who did reoffend did so sooner and more often that those tried in juvenile court.[8]

In an overview of all the research on whether the stricter transfer laws are resulting in harsher sentences and lowered juvenile crime, researcher Donna Bishop cautions,"Unfortunately, assessments of the extent to which transfer achieves these dual aims are few and recent."[9] The little evidence there is, however, does not indicate that the laws are having the desired effect. And there is some evidence, in fact, that they may be backfiring.

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:50 AM

 I agree, our entire penal system needs to be revamped for better rehabilitation. I disagree though that kids like these came up w/ such idea from previous abuse. While this does happen, it's not in every case. I think, in this case, I would hesitate to believe it's a cycle of abuse since it was the girls parents who brought it to police attention when they found the video.

I think, more often than not, kids get such ideas from media - movies, video games, etc. They know these things are fake and yet....

Quoting Chasing3:

I guess I think a child should be provided with rehabilitation. But clearly we don't really have any sort of effective rehabilitation in our prison system. In fact, it seems anyone who comes out is more likely to be an even more hardened criminal.

What is the most tragic to me is I believe something sinister went on in a kid's life to make them come up with these kinds of ideas. I think there is always a cycle of abuse. Some people can be amazingly resiliant and escape it. Some people become criminally insane and socipathic.

 

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Mar. 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM
I'm not sure where I stand, I have to give it some more thought before answering that part.

But seriously where the hell were the boys parents? Never mind the girls'. I work with kids on the spectrum and I just don't see how there was time for all of this to occur without any adults noticing.
KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 10:03 AM
1 mom liked this

 This was my initial reaction - since my eldest is on the spectrum. So I did some checking. These girls are 'close family friends' and have known the boy for many years. They are from a small town where everyone knows everyone, but the girls were supposedly friends/sometime babysitters. So the boys family thought its was a good thing that the girls walked him home after school, or when they asked him out to play. That's just another level of tragedy. That everyone thought the girls were spending time with him as friends not for entertainment factors.

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I'm not sure where I stand, I have to give it some more thought before answering that part. But seriously where the hell were the boys parents? Never mind the girls'. I work with kids on the spectrum and I just don't see how there was time for all of this to occur without any adults noticing.

 

Chasing3
by Bronze Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 10:52 AM
1 mom liked this
True. Interesting the mom brought it to police attention. I hope her daughter gets help.

Quoting KickButtMama:

 I agree, our entire penal system needs to be revamped for better rehabilitation. I disagree though that kids like these came up w/ such idea from previous abuse. While this does happen, it's not in every case. I think, in this case, I would hesitate to believe it's a cycle of abuse since it was the girls parents who brought it to police attention when they found the video.


I think, more often than not, kids get such ideas from media - movies, video games, etc. They know these things are fake and yet....


Quoting Chasing3:

I guess I think a child should be provided with rehabilitation. But clearly we don't really have any sort of effective rehabilitation in our prison system. In fact, it seems anyone who comes out is more likely to be an even more hardened criminal.


What is the most tragic to me is I believe something sinister went on in a kid's life to make them come up with these kinds of ideas. I think there is always a cycle of abuse. Some people can be amazingly resiliant and escape it. Some people become criminally insane and socipathic.


 

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