|J is for Justice for Juveniles|
So as I have worked with my students at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School on their posts for this challenge, I have been impressed with the effort that most of them have put in. Overall, everyone has turned in their assignments. However, today’s student did not. This is something that happens in every school. Each boy and girl often comes from a school where they struggle with turning in a lot of their assignments. Certified teachers work hard to teach students executive skills and there is an expectation to hold yourself accountable for the school assignments that you don’t do. As this student learns to do that, maybe he will write a blog post to appear later on. Don’t worry there is still a post for J. The U.S. History and World History students read an article about the changes in the juvenile justice system in the New York Times Upfront Magazine. Today’s post is their opinions and summations of the article.
Summary: Overall, this article discussed the pros and cons of having teenagers charged as adults for crimes. Some key points of the article were:
- · Teenager’s brains aren’t completely developed yet
- · Many teens are tried as adults for just middle to low-level crimes
- · 90% of teen offenders do not become adult criminals
- · With the decrease of youth adult-sentencing in Colorado, there has been no increase in juvenile crime
- · Juveniles can no longer receive the death penalty and cannot be charged with life without parole
Interesting Tidbits that Stood Out:
A lot of students were surprised by the story that started the reforms in Colorado about how juveniles are charged as adults. One student summarized this story well:
James Stewart, at age 17, got into an accident while drunk and accidently killed the driver of the other car. He was sent to “juvi” and was later charged as an adult. In the same year (2008), James killed himself in jail.
What Do You Think? Should juveniles be sentenced to life without parole? Why or why not?
These types of questions often pop up with a variety of responses. Most kids said no. They really believed that they should be given a second chance—as they have been given. One student even stated:
I do not believe there should be any sentence over 20-30 years. I totally changed my life/morals/behavior in less than 10 years, when I would have had no chance if I got sentenced to death or life in years ago, and I was in the peak of my criminal activity.
Some other students said yes because the severe crimes like murder should have that option, and one student stated, “I believe that a minor unless not willing to change should be sentenced for life.”
Overall, the students really enjoyed this article and felt that it was very informative.