argument top image

What are the pros and cons of trying juveniles as adults in court?
Back to question

Juveniles' best interests aren't served if they are tried as adults

The public safety, rehabilitation, and education of juveniles are disregarded when they are tried as adults. The common standard of "having the child's best interests" in family court proceedings should also be applied when they are being tried in court.

The Argument

A juvenile's 'best interests' refers to a standard that the "outcome of the legal action relative to the child should be the outcome that is best for that particular [juvenile]".[1] There are multiple risks to juveniles being tried in adult courts. Adult courts will most likely give children a harsher sentence than if they were to be tried in juvenile court. Treating them as adults is morally wrong because they should not be expected to behave like adults, as their brains have not completely developed. The part of the brain that pertains to rational development is the last to develop in their mid-20s. If the juveniles are convicted, they may end up in adult jails, which could lead to sexual abuse. Other consequences include danger to their health, lack of access to critical services that are supplemental to their development, and they could even be subjected to be victims of adult criminals.[2] Juveniles are more amenable towards rehabilitation compared to adults. The courts should consider that rehabilitation is available and that punishment might not be the best answer. The reason that the juvenile might have committed the offense could be because of abuse or neglect from their upbringing, which should not be penalized. Rehabilitation is supervised by licensed officials, which overall is in their best interest.[3] Rehabilitation practices such as cognitive behavior therapy and counseling approaches can reduce delinquency.[4]

Counter arguments

Even though juveniles are children, they commit horrible crimes and should be held accountable, no matter their age. If juveniles can obtain a driver's license at the age of 16 (in the U.S.), then they are old enough to make their own decisions. Even though some crimes are minor and have the possibility of rehabilitation, other, more serious crimes need a tougher approach.[5]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 2 Nov 2020 at 01:36 UTC

Explore related arguments