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SOLIS

Daniel Solis
Connie S. Douglas
ENG 112-78
December 10, 14
Juvenile Offenders
During childhood, I had the opportunity to relate to all kinds of people regardless
of ethnicity, color, economic power, or sex. I watched them grow, but some of them took
the wrong path. A few became drug dealers, others committed several crimes, and others became hitmen. With no education and no support from their parents, these kids did
anything for money, any material possession, or a little bit of power. Obviously, they
ended up either dead or incarcerated. The ones that went to jail were judged as adults
and sent to adult prisons. Some of them never came back, just God knows what happened to them, but the ones that returned become serious criminals. It almost looked
like they just graduated from a criminal college. One of them was very close to me; his
name Uriel Amapola. He was older than me and always taking care of me. Even though
I liked him, I was also scared of him. He told me he suffered from physical and verbal
violence, and sexual harassment during his incarceration years and that those were the
worst years of his life. Anyone could see the hate, anger, pain, and sadness in his eyes.
He became the drug dealer of the neighborhood and gained many enemies. He once
told that his life would have been different if his family would have loved him the way my
family loved me. He was in his early twenties when someone shot him with a machine
gun and killed him. This definitely changed the way I see the world, and Ive always
wondered what would have happened if instead of sending him to an adult prison, the

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jury would have sent him to a juvenile detention center, where he could forget everything about crime and start a new life as a student or worker. Had he been to a center,
Uriel would have been surrounded by people who cared for him, and these counselors
would have changed the way he saw his life. What are the issues of putting juvenile offenders in the adults criminal justice system? This is the main reason I choose this line
of inquiry.
The juvenile justice system program has some problems that must be addressed,
for example, sending and incarcerating youth under eighteen in the adult criminal justice
system. In order to address this situation; First, Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), is
an organization who is looking forward to end incarceration of youth under eighteen on
adult jails. Jails do not have the capacity to provide the necessary education and other
programs crucial for the healthy development of adolescents. (CFYJ) Sending juvenile
offenders to adult jails increases the probability that this youth will later be arrested for
more serious crimes. Punishment-oriented juvenile justice responses to troubled youth
increase the likelihood that they will re-offend, often more violently. (Rozzell) Second,
the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) establishes that avoiding the incarceration
of youth cuts costs and increases public safety. NJJN claims that removing youth from
there families should be the last resort. I completely agree with this practice unless the
family is the problem. Finally, the director of Families & Allies of Virginias Youth states
that this kind of punishment to troubled youth will increment the possibility of them
reoffending, and more violently. Youth imprisoned in adult jails are exposed to abuse
and assault from guards or prisoners, and suicide. Juvenile offenders should go to juvenile

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detention centers to serve their sentence where they can get an education and
therapy without violence of any kind.
Not everyone agrees that sending an under age citizen to an adult prison or jail is
the best way to punish juvenile offenders; however, some say that depending on how
violent the crime was, life without a parole (LWOP) is a legitimate punishment. Fortythree state legislatures have set the maximum punishment of juveniles to life without
parole (LWOP). (Stimson) Which from my point of view, this objection doesnt make
sense at all. Taking the opportunity of an under age citizen to redeem what he did in the
past is not acceptable. Setting them free is not an option, and I agree with that because
they are criminals. On the other hand, sending them to an adult jail or prison is just like
sending them into a lions cage.
Either theyll end up committing suicide for the kind of violence and abuse they
endure, or they will learn from all the bad treatment and aggressions, and become
more violent. Theres a reason why there are detention centers for juvenile aggressors.
There, they will receive special therapy, school education, job training, among others.
All these different programs will help them cure their criminal behavior in order to have a
normal life, or at least a life without crimes. I hope to discover how juvenile offenders
can change while they serve their sentence in juvenile detention centers, and how putting them into the adult criminal justice system affects their lives, and makes them
change only for bad.
My mom used to say, Raise your child with love and he will give love, but raise
your

child

with

violence,

and

he

will

be

violent.

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Picture

I chose this picture because it shows an incarcerated kid with his head down.
The image reveals his suffering, and his loss of dignity. The men surrounding him make
him feel like he is nothing. He cant even look at them. Hes scared of them, and instead
of getting better he is withdrawing and giving up. He could be suffering of sexual harassment, physical and verbal violence, or both. No matter how bad his crime was, put-

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ting a human into interminable violence is worse than a giving him LWOP or even death
sentence. Torture is what this is, constant torture with no rehabilitation. This is

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why either they commit suicide, or once they go out if they ever do, the probability of committing more serious crimes is very high. They have no positive improvement;
instead of getting a healthy mind, theyre getting their minds poisoned.

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Works Cited
Campaign for Youth Justice. "Placing Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System Is Counterproductive." Juvenile Crime. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven
Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Jailing Juveniles: The Dangers of Incarcerating Youth in Adult Jails in America." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Oct.
2014.
Rozzell, Liane Gay. "Alternatives to the Punishment-Oriented Juvenile Justice
Model Are Necessary." Juvenile Crime. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven
Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "These Are Our Children: New Models
Are Transforming Juvenile Justice." Sojourners Magazine 38 (June 2009): 7. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.
Stimson, Charles D., and Andrew M. Grossman. "It Should Be Possible to Sentence Juveniles to Life Without Parole." Juvenile Crime. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit:
Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Adult Time for Adult Crimes:
Life Without Parole for Juvenile Killers and Violent Teens." Heritage Foundation, 2009.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.
White, Linda L. "Juveniles Should Not Be Sentenced to Life Without Parole." Juvenile Crime. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Testimony of Linda L. White Judiciary Committee of the US House of
Representatives." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.