The justice system has revealed over the years that it has improved; but still encompasses flaws that require reconstruction of sentencing regulations. Perhaps relocating a juvenile to an adult prison is not the appropriate path to educate nor to rehabilitate a juvenile. In the case of T.J Parsell, an article featured in The New York Times, he claims that on his first day in prison as a juvenile, he was drugged, gang raped and turned into sexual chattel (Slotnik, 2012). In what circumstances does it make it right for a juvenile to intake this type of violence? It is unfortunate that this is common in the prison system, but I disagree that a juvenile should be sent to adult prison regardless of their crime. Their punishment should be fulfilled in a juvenile system, where their age, size (proportion of body weight), or crime is not discriminative. In an adult prison, juveniles are more likely to be targets of violence and constant manipulation by experienced offenders; which becomes not only a burden but also a disadvantage to the individual.
Intellectual development of a juvenile differs tremendously to that of an adult cognitive thinking, life experience, self-knowledge, and growth of a juvenile lacks to that of an experienced adult. “At the time I was sent to prison, for robbing a Fotomat with a toy gun, I was still a boy- physically, cognitively, social and emotionally - and ill equipped to respond to the sexualized coercion of older, more experienced convicts” (Slotnik, 2012). As Mr. Parsell reflects among his experience in adult prison, reality is, that juveniles are still considered “children”, their behaviors may be deviant to society but essentially they do not comprehend or interpret similar conceptions of life compared to an adult. It is a matter of re-analyzing the situation and the outcomes it will for set in their future. Furthermore, a defect with this regulation in sentencing juveniles to adult prison is the ability to learn new methods of intellectual “street” knowledge and the simple concept of violence. This encourages innovative violence and continuous deviant behavior, preparing delinquents to become chronic and experienced offenders.
The purpose of a judicial hearing for juveniles in an adult court is to deter and prevent their deviant behaviors from reoccurring. In most cases this is not accurate. Members of congress argue that sentencing juveniles to adult prison has not indicated successful turnouts. Instead juveniles appreciate the opportunity of gaining knowledge from other experienced convicts; allowing them to be precise and skilled in their behavior. An act of interpersonal knowledge which is communicated by reassurance is measured to be the most qualified skilled of interpretation.
Over time, juvenile regulations become further harsh and severe in the justice system. “Pennsylvania prisons have nearly a quarter of the nation’s approximately 2,100 teen lifers because state sentencing laws give judges only two options for anyone convicted of first-degree murder: a death sentence or life in prison without parole” (Dale, 2012). This was issued in the news article titled, Pa. man, sentenced to life as teen, seeks release, which demonstrates the veracity of juvenile justice in our current world. According to The New York Times, data indicates that Pennsylvania is the top state to obligate juveniles to serve a life sentence without parole for certain crimes regardless of age; 444 are serving life without parole, 18 of those lifers are between the ages of 13-14 years old, and an estimate of 25% of juveniles will never get to appreciate or understand the quality of life ("Sentencing juveniles," 2011). Sentencing regulations can be inconvenient to the justice system and a potential danger to society. Education and rehabilitation must be the first method of transitioning juveniles back to society, disregarding those juveniles who do not seek change. We should be able to differentiate juveniles from adults, regardless of their intentions to commit the crime. Society should open an opportunity of second chances.
Dale, M. (2012, 07 02). Pa. man, sentenced to life as teen, seeks release Deseret News ,
Sentencing juveniles (2011, 04 20). The New York Times , Retrieved from
Slotnik, D. E. (2012, 06 08). When should juvenile offenders receive life sentences?. The
New York Times , Retrieved from