Should juveniles be punished differently than adults?
Juveniles know right from wrong, should be held responsible for their behavior and should face consequences when they violate the law. The question is whether the way we respond to a juvenile who commits a serious crime should differ from how we respond when the same crime is committed by an adult.
There are at least 2,225 child offenders serving life without parole sentences in U.S prisons for crimes committed before they were age 18.
On average, juveniles were involved in one-quarter of all serious violent victimizations (not including murder) committed annually over the last 25 years.
A recent survey suggests that 28% of juvenile offenders become repeat offenders within 3 years of their original crime while adult offenders repeat at a rate of 77%
However juveniles are committing very adult crimes.
Just a few examples:
Lee Boyd Malvo,17, " The Washington-area sniper" he and John Allen Muhammad gunned down 13 people from Maryland to Virginia over a three-week period in October 2002
De'Marquise Elkins, 17, and his 14yo accomplice fatally shot a 13mo baby in the face and wounded his mother during their morning stroll in Brunswick, Ga. in an attempted robbery in March.
A 17yo has been charged in connection with the December 16th, 2012, attack on a physiotherapy student who was tortured and raped by a group of six males armed with a metal bar on a private bus in New Delhi
A 17yo Madison County, Ind., teen pleaded guilty in June to molesting three young girls, including a 13-year-old who became pregnant.
Dallas A. McDade Jr., 17, was found guilty in 2011 of first-degree murder, attempted murder, felony use of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon in the July 2010 shooting death of Eric Lamont Jenkins
Tia Marie Skinner, 17, plotted the murder of her father and the attempted murder of her mother inside their Yale home in November 2012
Nicole Marie Beecroft, 17, in Oakdale, was sentenced in 2008 to life in prison without parole for stabbing her infant girl as many as 135 times before tossing her body into a trash can.
Antonio Scott Farrell, 17, and Kevin Blankenship, 16, kidnapped Barbara Castor, 76, from a Brighton parking lot, tied her up and left her near abandoned dam near Strasburg in 1996. She died of exposure.
Willow Perry, 17, is one of three teen-age girls who killed West Palm Beach cabdriver Yves Quettant, in 1994 after planning to stiff him on a $6 fare.
Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were convicted of the rape of a 16yo girl in 2012. After which they posted photos of the attack on Facebook.
Skylor Atilano, 16, is charged in the death of Terry Smith Jr. his half brother.
Jennifer Tombs, 16, shot and killed her baby sitter Latanya Lavallais, 23 in 1996
Raymond James Gone, 16, shot and killed Denver police officer Shawn Leinen in 1995
Scandale Fritz, Justin Applewhite, both 16, and Kenneth Brown, 15, sexual assaulted a 12yo girl at gunpoint and posted the footage on Facebook.
Konrad Schafer, 15, was charged with first-degree murder in a fatal shooting in Osceola County.
James Pineda was 15 in 2009 when he killed Eric Burkhart in a Reno homeless camp.
Joshua Mooney,15, charged with second-degree burglary and the first-degree murder of Mary Escue in 2012
Kenneth Carl Crawford III, 15, was convicted in the shooting deaths of Diana Lynn Algar and Jose Molina who picked up the teenaged drifter and offered him help
A 15yo boy was charged with murder of his own mom, found fatally stabbed in her Jacinto City bed. He became a suspect when he confessed to family members.
Lorraine Thorpe, 15, Britain's youngest convicted murder was convicted of two separate murders in 2010
Thomas ''T.J.'' White, 15, and Marcus Fernandez, 16, killed state Trooper Lyle Wohlers in 1992.
Lorenso Montoya, 14, and Nicholas Martinez and Lloyd Martinez, both 16, were convicted in the slaying of Emily Johnson, a schoolteacher who was beaten to death
Paul English, 14, shot and killed Carl Banks Jr. In 1993
A 14-year-old Bahraini boy was convicted of murder, attempted murder, rioting, taking part in an illegal gathering and possessing firebombs in connection with a 12 bombing death of Ahmed Salim Al Dhufairi
A 14yo Puyallup boy is charged with kidnapping, raping and choking his 7yo neighbor.
Lionel Tate, 14, was convicted of first-degree murder for brutally beating 6yo Tiffany Eunick in 1999. 9 months after his 2004 release he was detained for violating the terms of his house arrest when he was found out of his house and carrying a four-inch knife and given an additional 5years house arrest. In May of 2005 he was again arrested for armed burglary with battery. He is currently serving a 30year sentence for gun possession charges.
A 14yo Walker boy is charged in the shooting death of his sister's boyfriend in Kent County.
Daniel Guidino, 14, charged with killing his brother and trying to slay his mother in Colorado Springs.
John Caudle, 14, killed his mother and stepfather because he was angry about being told to do his chores
A 13yo Harlem boy charged as an adult with molesting a 4yo neighbor
Jordan Nelson,13, New Zealand, pleaded guilty to the murder of his caregiver, Rosemaree Kurth in 2012
Cristian Fernandez, 13, faces life in prison in Florida for murdering his 2yo half-brother in 2012
Jose Cruz, 13, was convicted of armed robbery in Reno, Nv 2011
Eric Smith, 13, sexually abused and murdered 4yo Derrick Robie in Steuben County, New York in 1993
Christopher Lucero, 13, from Pueblo, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1999 death of Shawn Russell.
A 12yo Burlington, Co boy was charged with killing his parents, Charles and Marilyn Long, and wounding two siblings in 2011
Sharon Carr, 12 was convicted of killing trainee hairdresser Katie Rackliff in 1992.
12yo charged with arson with bodily injury after a deadly fire near Austin killed his 8yo cousin.
A 12yo Utah boy, arrested after leading a woman up a trail and attempting to sexually assault her in Haiku. The boy was charged with first-degree attempted sexual assault and kidnapping.
Jasmine Richardson,12, convicted of fatally stabbing her mother and father then stabbing and strangling her 8yo brother to death.
A 12yo Kosciusko County boy has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the killing of the stepfather of one of his friends.
Nathaniel Abraham, 11, of Michigan killed an eighteen-year-old in 1997
Jordan Brown, 11, convicted of the murder of his father's fiancé, Kenzie Houk, shot in her bed, though her head. She was eight months pregnant.
Mary Bell, 11, was convicted of killing two young boys, 4yo Martin Brown and 3yo Brian Howe.
Miriam White,11, fatally stabbed Rosemarie Knight, a complete stranger, while Knight was walking her dog in South Philadelphia.
A 10yo girl in Main is charged with manslaughter in the suffocation death of 3mo Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway.
Joseph Hall, 10, of Riverside, Ca shot his father to death at point-blank range in 2011 because he thought he was planning to divorce his stepmother and break up the family.
A 10yo boy from Orange, N.J., charged with murder and aggravated sexual assault in the brutal beating death of a 4-month-old girl.
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both 10, abducted and killed 2yo James Bulger in 1993.
Two London boys, aged 10 and 11, have been found guilty of the attempted rape of an 8yo girl, becoming the youngest ever convicted of the offense in 2010.
Pierre Horton, 10, was convicted of beating an 18mo old girl to death with a dog chain in 1996.
In 2005, a 9yo girl, was convicted of stabbing 11yo Queen Washington during a fight over a ball.
A 9yo, in Cahokia, charged with beating 14mo Taquan Willis to death.
An 8yo Arizona boy is charged with murder in the shooting death of his father and his father's friend in retaliation of alleged physical abuse.
Armadeep Sada, 8, is being described as "India's youngest serial killer" after he was charged with the murder of three children, including his sister. All of his victims were under 1yo.
Two Chicago boys, aged 7 and 8, charged with the murder of 11yo Ryan Harris because they wanted her bicycle in 1998.
A 7yo Kentucky boy is charged on the fatal stabbing death of his mom's boyfriend, Robert Sanders, while he slept. The boys 4yo brother witnessed the attack.
Carl Newton Mahan, 6, killed his friend Cecil Van Hoose, 8, over a piece of scrap iron in eastern Kentucky.