Juvenile trials in adult courts have been a serious debate over the years. Everyone is asking if it is right for juveniles to be treated and tried as adults. Some crimes are serious, no matter who commits them. Murder, rape, robbery with violence are serious crimes regardless of the offender. Why then can’t the punishment be equal? One cannot commit these crimes without thinking about them first; it means that the person was well aware of the consequences. We have detailed some reasons why juveniles should be given the same trial as adults.

1. Suitable Penalty for the Crime

If any teenager below 18 years is worried about being punished, the best thing is to avoid committing the crime. Trying juveniles as adults gives them a suitable punishment for the serious crimes that some of them commit. In as much as they are under age, juveniles still commit serious crimes that need the same sentence as adults.

2. It Reduces Chances of Committing Severe Crimes

Trying juveniles as adults helps reduce the chances of repeating the crime or committing more serious crimes. That also serves as a lesson for other youths to refrain from committing the same crimes leading to a significant drop in juvenile crimes

3. Serves the Purpose of Justice

Treating juveniles as adults serve the purposes of justice by putting them in the same system as adults. These young ones who feel they are almost adults do not receive any credit for the fact that they are just a few years from becoming legal adults.

4. Creates Certainty in the Justice System

The justice system needs to be equal and just for everyone. Giving juveniles trials the same as adults give certainty in the system for victims. The case may not be the same often as many young children at times decide to commit crimes, including murder. In this case, the justice system has to respond accordingly.

5. It Provides Consistency for the Severe Crimes

When juveniles are treated and tried as adults, it creates consistency for even the most severe of crimes. Imagine letting go of a 12-year-old who commits a triple homicide but sentencing a 30-year-old for life for the same crime. It is not sensible and unfair; murder is murder, be it by a child or an adult. Therefore the punishment should be the same at all levels.

6. It Offers Services to the Youth in Detention

As juvenile systems focus on programs such as vocational guidance and access to schools, adult prisons don’t. When juveniles get sentenced to prisons meant for adults, then they can get access to programs like addiction support. It helps to equip them properly so that when they finally get out of prison, they will know what to do in a given situation. Other programs like carpentry and masonry can equip them for employment opportunities. That way, they may try to be out of trouble as possible.

7. It Teaches Accountability

Children will always grow to emulate the characters in their immediate environment. If you teach your children that it is wrong to steal, they will grow up knowing that. Nonetheless, if you teach them that it is no issue to take other people’s belongings and bring them home, they will grow up doing just that.

They will tend to imagine that such behaviors are acceptable in society as a whole. It is the work of the community, to cultivate the art of accountability in children. It does not matter their background; they should know both acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

And this is done for the greater good of the whole society. Therefore, juveniles receiving the same treatment as adults is the number one way of ensuring they learn their lessons well.

8. Gives Seriousness to Severe Crimes

Source: UNICEF

What makes society is the people in it, and what makes it safe enough is the sanity of the people living in it. Some children commit some serious crimes that will leave you wondering if the society will be safe. That is if they are left unpunished or given a lesser punishment.

If these children are given lighter punishment and then released back into society, they will be free-roaming the streets again. They know that there is no severe punishment for them as long as they are under the age of 18 years. Giving them the same trial as adults will ensure the justice system conducts rehabilitation on them before they are released back into society.

9. It Allows the Community an Opportunity to Participate in the Process

In juvenile courts, it is the presiding judge that has the final say. That means he decides the innocence of the juvenile, the sentence period, and the type of sentence. But if the hearing is in adult court, it allows the community to decide whether the case should be held there or not. If not, they have the power to make their preference known.

It is the work of the justice system to ensure that every crime is punishable according to its weight. The public should be made aware that no one is above the law or can escape justice because of their age.

Therefore, punishing juveniles the same as adults will ensure that young children learn to respect the law. And to avoid companies and peer pressure that might lure them into committing serious crimes.

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