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Seo Alexander

Ms. Marcum

ERWC Period 1

6 March 2017

Juvenile Justice

How would a parent feel if their son or daughter under the age of 18 gets sentenced to

prison for committing a serious crime? Currently in our society, many teenagers are being

sentenced to life in prison due to the severity of the crime they commit. Punishment like this

shouldnt be used as many juveniles dont fully understand on the actions they do due to their

underdeveloped brain. Sources shows that many teenagers performs the action that is considered

as immature and unnecessary. There are many factors can lead teenagers to commit these crimes

such as exposure to negativity from home, family relationship problems, etc. Even though

juveniles commit these crimes, there are other alternatives that many of us should consider

instead of choosing prison as their answer. In addition, teenagers shouldnt be treated with harsh

punishment and sentenced to life in prison since their brains havent fully developed. Many

juveniles dont think about their consequences until they commit a crime.

Many of the actions that teenagers do has to do with their underdeveloped brain.

According to Paul Thompsons article, Startling Finds on Teenage Brains, Thompson claims

that The biggest surprise in teenage brains in recent teen-brain research is the finding that a

massive loss of brain tissue occurs in the teen years (Thompson 23). Based on his claims, this

can heavily affect a teenagers process of thoughts as their life progresses. Therefore, this

contributes to the fact that juvenile shouldnt be sentenced to life in prison due to the fact that

their brain are going through changes which affects their behavior and thoughts. However, there
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are different cases that may change the way on how juveniles should be punished. For instance,

television and video game violence can affect the way a juvenile act. This is supported when

Marjie Lundstrom states in her article titled, Kids Are Kids - Until They Commit Crimes, that

Lionel Tate-who was twelve when he savagely beat to death a six-year-old girl imitating his

World Wrestling Federation heroes (Lundstrom 21). From the evidence Lundstrom provides,

this proves that most juvenile such as Lionel Tale does not fully understand whether his actions

were either necessary or unnecessary. According to Lundstrom, Lionel Tate was trying to reenact

his World Wrestling Federation heroes but didnt think about the consequences he is now facing

from his own actions. Even though juveniles performs these harsh actions without thinking about

the outcomes, there should be an alternative punishments for juveniles instead of using the last

resort of sentencing them to life in prison due to the fact that they are losing brain tissues due to

their brain development.

Many people in our society dont understand the fact that the actions that juveniles could

be from their rough livelihood. Many juveniles try to find a way to escape from negativity such

as conflicts. Things that happens in a juveniles home can affect their behavior and the way he or

she makes a decision. A rough family life can also contribute to the actions that juveniles do. For

example, in Scott Andersons article, Greg Ousley Is Sorry For Killing His Parents. Is That

Enough?, Anderson states that Greg Ousley had a rough life since there would be arguments

that were constant from her mother drinking, which could have resulted him becoming

aggravated and wanting to make terrible decisions. (Anderson 8). In addition, Anderson also

mentions that Greg Ousley was orphaned and also the fact that his mothers brother was killed

in a tragic motorcycle accident. (Anderson 8). This quote contributes to the fact that a victims
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home life can affect the way one thinks. The death of his mothers brother can be the reason why

she became an alcoholic due to the grieve feeling she currently experiences.

Overall, I feel that there should be an alternative punishment for most juveniles since

some went through a rough life. Stress from family and school could have caused them to

become who they are. Many juveniles need to understand that the actions they do also carries

onto their future livelihood. As a society, it would be better if theres a way to make the juveniles

learn from their own mistakes instead of sending them life in prison.

Works Cited
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1. Lundstrom, Marjie. Kids Are Kids- Until They Commit Crimes. Sacremento Bee 1

Mar. 2001.

2. Thompson, Paul. Startling Finds on Teenage Brains. Sacramento Bee. 25 May 2001.

3. Anderson, Scott. Greg Ousley Is Sorry For Killing His Parents. Is That Enough? The

New York Times. 19 July 2012.