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Tyler Li

Ms. Sanchez

ERWC, P.3

8 March 2017

Juvenile Essay

When a child under the age of 28 commits a serious crime or is tried as an adult, could

possibly receive a sentence of life in prison. A juvenile used to receive a sentence of life in prison

without parole, but the supreme court later decided to not allow juveniles receive life in prison

without parole. If a juvenile committed a serious crime under the age of 18, then they should be

allowed life in prison with parole.

Since the supreme court had decided to repeal the sentence of life in prison without

parole, there are still individuals that disagree with the repeal. For example, a juvenile named

Greg Ousley was a 14 year old boy that planned and carried out a crime against his parents

(Anderson 2). Greg was at a young age when he killed his parents and some say that he should

receive life in prison without parole due to Greg planning the crime well before committing the

crime. Greg mentioned that he had been thinking about killing them every time I get mad

(Anderson 2). This represented how motivated he was to murder his parents. It only took little

for Greg to have a thought that serious and to make him the juvenile he had become. Through the

years of prison, Greg has jumped through every hoop the state has put in front of him

(Anderson 5). This looks like Greg should be released early, but juveniles at a young age can act

with the best behavior and do all the right moves that allow him to be released early. If a prisoner

did act that way then how will people know if Greg or other prisoners have changed. At this time

of age, it can be very difficult to come up with a result that suits the crime.
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On the other hand, juveniles develop their personalities through external influences.

According to Jenkins, the introduction to television can potentially lead to a culture filled with

violence (Jenkins 49). An individual does not become themselves by themselves, but through

experiences and other influences that have affected them. Juveniles also are less mature, more

vulnerable to peer pressure, cannot escape from dangerous environments (Garinger 2). From

living in a violent environment to being pressured into doing something can have a terrible effect

on children. Children can be influenced into a culture that no one thinks about associating with

through their life. Greg at the age of 14 has thoughts of murder and suicide, he also has told his

mother his thoughts and nothing has been done (Anderson 2). Going back to Greg, he has had

terrible thoughts and surprisingly was able to tell his mother, who did absolutely nothing about

the problem. If anything was to be done for Greg, then he would possibly not be where he has

been for most of his life. Greg has lived with his family where there was fighting going on

around the house. Greg had sister that lived in the same house, until his sisters left due to the

fights and then Greg became the scapegoat to his mothers rage (Anderson 9). Due to his

household, Greg grew up in a very violent environment, which had an effect on Greg mentally

causing him to act in the way he did and making him not the sole reason of who he was at that

age. Individuals also show signs of problems at home or school. Greg showed signs of problems

and when he was questioned, Greg gave the stock response of most every 14-year-old boy-

nothing- and the moment passed (Anderson 11). This is another example of how without any

help, a child an increasingly become worse and these problems should never be ignores, even if

the child does not cooperate. Juveniles also show signs of good after being convicted.

As a prisoner is in jail, they can show positive signs. The juveniles that have the

malleability to being peer pressured easily, will also translate to how easily it will be for them to
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rehabilitate (Garinger 2). If the juveniles were easily peer pressured, then it could not be as

difficult to change their mind set to start acting more positive and into doing their best to be

released. In 2015, 125 out of 366 convictions were probation or probation with jail (Harris 52).

This data represents the mindsets that juveniles have while committing a crime because they

could be thinking of what the consequence could be and were able to avoid only prison time. The

court did not accept the thought of having children sent to prison to die without an opportunity to

demonstrate their maturity and rehabilitation (Garinger 2). Not only do individuals believe in the

positive outcome a juvenile can while in prison, but so do the courts and they believe that

juveniles can help themselves to better mature themselves. Many juveniles that were sentenced at

a young age, have proven themselves through maturity and rehabilitation (Young Kids, Hard

Times). This proved that anyone that sets their mind to becoming a better person than before is

possible and gives the court the faith of allowing juveniles to be given parole.

The decision of allowing juveniles receiving a life sentence with parole was a proper

decision due to the juveniles ability to better themselves. So if a juvenile was to commit a

serious crime under the age of 18, then they should be allowed a life sentence with the chance of

parole.
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Works Cited

Young Kids, Hard Time. Produced by MSNBC 2011. Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.

Harris, Kamala D. "Juvenile Justice in California." California Department of Justice, 2015.

Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.

Garinger, Gail. "Juveniles Dont Deserve Life Sentences." The New York Times. The New York

Times, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Jenkins, Jennifer. "Jennifer Bishop Jenkins On Punishment and Teen Killers." Juvenile Justice

Information Exchange. N.p., 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Anderson, Scott. "Greg Ousley Is Sorry for Killing His Parents. Is That Enough?" The New York

Times. The New York Times, 21 July 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.