In the United States, when one turns eighteen, people consider that the individual is an adult, but there is no written national law, nor a statement in the United Nations covenants that I know of that states that a person is an adult at that age. Age eighteen is accepted as a norm because the Constitution states that under the 26th Amendment, people can vote. Additionally, though it up to the states to decide, eighteen is when people can get a driver’s license and buy cigarettes.
Controversially however, there are no state laws or federal laws set to decide at what age a person is eligible to go to an adult court or prison if proven guilty for an unpardonable crime. An example of this is in Alabama, where two males at age fourteen are currently spending life in prison for a murder, but to the non-profit group, the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama it is cruel and unusual punishment and violates their human right...
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...in juvenile cases: Mitigating and extralegal factors matter. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 12(1), 21.
Redlich, A. , Quas, J. , & Ghetti, S. (2008). Perceptions of children during a police interrogation: Guilt, confessions, and interview fairness. Psychology, Crime & Law, 14(3), 201.
Shook, J. (2005). Contesting childhood in the us justice system: The transfer of juveniles to adult criminal court. Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research, 12(4), 461-478.
Scott, E. , & Steinberg, L. (2008). Adolescent development and the regulation of youth crime. Future of Children, 18(2), 15-33.
Semple, J. , & Woody, W. (2011). Juveniles tried as adults: The age of the juvenile matters. Psychological Reports, 109(1), 301-308.
Steiner, B. , & Giacomazzi, A. (2007). Juvenile waiver, boot camp, and recidivism in a northwestern state. Prison Journal, 87(2), 227.
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