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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
Follow us: @dreamindemon on Twitter | thedreamindemon on Facebook


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by on Mar. 17, 2014 at 6:23 PM
Replies (31-40):
tansyflower
by Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 11:04 AM
1 mom liked this

i personally hate our penal system.  we have more people incarcerated than any other industrialized country...why?  because we think human beings are disposable.  instead of trying to help a flawed human being become a better person, they treat them like animals then wonder why they behave like one.  if it were up to me our prison system as a whole would be totally different.

and yes, i feel that way about children as well as adults.  treating people with dignity and respect regardless of what they did is the first step in helping offenders connect to the internal struggles that led them to commit a crime in the first place.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM
That isn't quite what I meant. "Telling" on your child doesn't count in my view. I meant, why aren't these parents coming forward and aknowledging their children's actions and asking how they can help to make restitution? Whether ir not they actually can isn't the focal point, just the fact of them stepping forward and offering would be something. I mean, how can any decent parent not be mortified that their child did something so horrendous and not try to make amends sonehow??!?

Quoting KickButtMama:

It was actually the younger girls mom who found the videos and brought them to the attention of the authorities at their school. So I do think this parent was trying to be accountable and looking to make amends. 

Quoting kirbymom: I saw this! It's horrible and tragic!
Why aren't the parents stepping up and taking some responsibility for these girls' actions abd behaviour?

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM


Quoting kirbymom: That isn't quite what I meant. "Telling" on your child doesn't count in my view. I meant, why aren't these parents coming forward and aknowledging their children's actions and asking how they can help to make restitution? Whether ir not they actually can isn't the focal point, just the fact of them stepping forward and offering would be something. I mean, how can any decent parent not be mortified that their child did something so horrendous and not try to make amends sonehow??!?
Quoting KickButtMama:

It was actually the younger girls mom who found the videos and brought them to the attention of the authorities at their school. So I do think this parent was trying to be accountable and looking to make amends. 

Quoting kirbymom: I saw this! It's horrible and tragic! Why aren't the parents stepping up and taking some responsibility for these girls' actions abd behaviour?

That's how I took the mom coming forward. She didn't just dump her daughter off at the police station. She called an emergency meeting with the school guidance counselor, the school security (who are police officers there, I guess) I agree that more often than not parents in these positions are not willing to admit mistakes or ask for help. I guess I just saw it as this parent was asking for help as well as asking for her child to be held accountable,

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM

I agree. Well said!

Quoting tansyflower:

i personally hate our penal system.  we have more people incarcerated than any other industrialized country...why?  because we think human beings are disposable.  instead of trying to help a flawed human being become a better person, they treat them like animals then wonder why they behave like one.  if it were up to me our prison system as a whole would be totally different.

and yes, i feel that way about children as well as adults.  treating people with dignity and respect regardless of what they did is the first step in helping offenders connect to the internal struggles that led them to commit a crime in the first place.


kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 18, 2014 at 1:38 PM
Now see, I wasn't aware that the mom had called a meeting. Not sure if it changes my view or not but it does give pause.


Quoting KickButtMama:

Quoting kirbymom: That isn't quite what I meant. "Telling" on your child doesn't count in my view. I meant, why aren't these parents coming forward and aknowledging their children's actions and asking how they can help to make restitution? Whether ir not they actually can isn't the focal point, just the fact of them stepping forward and offering would be something. I mean, how can any decent parent not be mortified that their child did something so horrendous and not try to make amends sonehow??!?

Quoting KickButtMama:

It was actually the younger girls mom who found the videos and brought them to the attention of the authorities at their school. So I do think this parent was trying to be accountable and looking to make amends. 

Quoting kirbymom: I saw this! It's horrible and tragic!
Why aren't the parents stepping up and taking some responsibility for these girls' actions abd behaviour?

That's how I took the mom coming forward. She didn't just dump her daughter off at the police station. She called an emergency meeting with the school guidance counselor, the school security (who are police officers there, I guess) I agree that more often than not parents in these positions are not willing to admit mistakes or ask for help. I guess I just saw it as this parent was asking for help as well as asking for her child to be held accountable,

kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 18, 2014 at 1:48 PM
1 mom liked this
Oh I am sorry. I was not very clear.
I am agreeing with your point of view that we should not be trying children as adults since we do not feel they are capable of making the adult like choices or decisions until it benefits the system, then these children are allowed to make decisions for themselves.
It just frustrates me to no end the double standards that are imposed onto our children.


Quoting hwblyf:

I think I've missed your point.  I'm a little tired.

At 12 you can't join any military action and decide that you're willing to lay down your life.  At 15 you can't, either.  Decisions that affect the rest of your life are easily made, unmade with great difficulty.  I can understand the anger and frustration with children who can do these things.  But should a life be thrown away, or should we try to salvage that person?  If we don't wish to save/redeem/rehabilitate/recondition, why do we have prison?  Death is far kinder than imprisonment, and it takes all questions off the table.  I saw a made for tv movie similar to this, where the parents defended (in this case) the boys who did this to a mentally retarded young lady.  The parents sat there and said the girl without mental capacity to understand what her attackers were really doing to her wanted it and was ruining their boys' lives.  I weep for the mistakes made.  But I think there's a point where we're presented with children going down the wrong path, and we can make a difference.  At that point, if we throw a child into jail, we condemn them to that kind of life, that path is now made of cement.  I think if we look at the legal age of consent for everything else, we'll see it's not maleable.  Why is it in the case of crime?  Why are we not looking more heavily at these KIDS and wondering how we can change them?

Quoting kirbymom: If our young men and women can go and "DECIDE" to die for our country, then they can also "DECIDE" to make other "adult" type "DECISIONS".

Sorry. Rant over.


Quoting hwblyf:

I'm not for trying children as adults.  We won't let them drive, we won't let them enter a contract, we feel that they make such bad decisions that we won't allow them to choose cigarettes....society screams that they need guidance/surveillance/assistance in making decisions with lasting consequences.  I don't think retribution is what jail should be.  If that were the case, death penalty for all with a waiting period of less than a week.  But we don't do that.  I think rehab is better.  I think positive programs for youth to give them a positive place and positive way to spend their energy, is best.  I think bureaucratically we have no hope for that last one.  But I think that if we're not willing to let someone enter into a legal contract because they don't have the full out thought process that we think it requires, then we shouldn't be trying them as adults.  And it's not as if they're doing a psych profile and maturity eval on anybody prior to determining whether or not they're adults, they're looking at the crime, plain and simple.

As a mom of a very precious, overactive, possibly aggressive and hostile young man, I have to say that throwing away our youth to a prison system is stupid.  Putting a 12 year old in prison for life is a waste.  No good has come from putting someone in prison.  I understand protecting others, but that is a life wasted.  What good can come from that?

starbeck96
by Bronze Member on Mar. 18, 2014 at 2:05 PM
1 mom liked this

I believe that it is a case by case. 

We've had two instances in our county within the last year, that a teenager killed someone. 

One was 16.  He walked into a service station and shot two people, a man and a woman.  Both were airlifted, but the man died on the way.  The woman lived but has serious physical problems because of it.  It is also terrible because their kids heard it.  They were hid in the back of the store.   This young man was already a drug user.  He had a very tough home life.

The other case, a 15 year old boy was paid to kill someone.  Of course all of this was drug related.  This young man had been a drug runner for several years.  He had nearly gotten in a fight with one of my boys (my boys never got in trouble) the year before.  He later told my son that he was sorry, but he was high on marijuana that day. 

What really saddens me is that both of these young men fell through the cracks.  They both had parents that didn't care and they both were looking for acceptance which is why they decided to become drug addicts (with guys older than them). 

I knew both of the young men that committed the murders.  I had subbed in the 16 year old's class many times (when he was younger).  The other young man was the same grade as my boys.  My husband had taught him in an art class.

Both are being tried as adults, because both were pre-meditated.  It is sad, but at the same time, I can't argue with it.  They are old enough to know right from wrong.  It is awful that their background gave them less of a chance, but they still knew right from wrong.

What really saddens me is that the teachers knew they were troubled kids and their hands were basically tied to some extent.  Teachers now days are too scared to go up to a student and just give them a hug and tell them that they care about them (which is what these two young men really needed). 

I don't think that a kid under the age of 14 or 15, in most cases, should be tried as an adult, but for those over that age, then it really does depend on the situation.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 18, 2014 at 2:06 PM
I was raised that parents are still responsible for the actions of their child(ren) .
So, if I did something illegal, my parents were still responsible for what I did and had to make some sort of restitution (somehow) as well as myself make restitution for my actions.


Quoting AutymsMommy:

Just for the sake of discussion...

I was a horrid teen - from a wonderful family; SAH step mom, nice clothing, upper middle class existence, business owner daddy, involved parents who tucked me into bed at night (sure, there was a bit of dysfunction, but every family has that). There is nothing my parents did to make me act out the way I did (including teenage arrests, suspensions, expulsion, and ultimately teenage pregnancy). They weren't responsible at that point. They couldn't make me stop - I lied and they knew nothing about half of it until it was too late.

Quoting kirbymom: I saw this! It's horrible and tragic!
Why aren't the parents stepping up and taking some responsibility for these girls' actions abd behaviour?

Knightquester
by on Mar. 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I hate to say this, but let's face it there are some kids that have committed murder, assault, and even rape before the age of 16 years old.  To me those are adult actions that require adult convictions.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM
I find ithe mother of the younger girl bri tbringing the video in herself, nteresting.

Quoting Chasing3: 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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