Essay about The Controversial Issue Of Juvenile Incarceration

Essay about The Controversial Issue Of Juvenile Incarceration

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In every society, there are controversial issues that influence or are opposed by a significant number of people. They are controversial because they go beyond some individuals expectations, or they receive various opinions for different persons. Sociologists define the social issue as a condition of a society that is believed to affect a considerable number of individuals (Alessio 2). Good examples of social issues are body art, racial discrimination, hacking, juvenile life sentencing and anti-Muslim discrimination. This paper discusses the controversial issue of juvenile life sentencing.
Every year, children as young as thirteen and fourteen are sentenced to die in prison in the United States. This is known as life without parole. According to studies on juvenile incarceration, thousands of children have been imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole (Nellis 34). These life sentences for juveniles are given for offences committed at an age when they are not considered responsible enough to drive, live away from their parents or make decisions regarding their medical treatment or education. They can also not leave school, vote or sign contracts. Individuals or children below the age of eighteen are not legally allowed to use alcohol, join the army or even serve on juries because they are recognized as not having the capability to handle adult responsibilities or duties (Human Rights Watch 58). Throughout the world, these differences between childhood and adulthood are recognized and incorporated in human rights documents. Regardless of the global consensus that children or juveniles cannot be held to the same levels of responsibility as grownups, the United States has continued to punish children as if they are adults...


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...Nellis 102). Further, in adult prisons, young offenders are often denied the access to vocational and education programs necessary for their rehabilitation and development. Thoughts of suicide, depression, and suicide attempts are especially common among youth inmates who feel intensely isolated from family and friends and without hope of ever rejoining them (Austin, Dedel and Dedel 71). Youths can and do commit very bad offences when this happens; they ought to be held accountable and face suitable consequences. However, children are very different from adults, the punishment they receive for their crimes should reflect their level of development and age. For youth offenders, both their conditions of incarceration and sentences must adapt to account for juvenile’s particular needs, vulnerabilities, and capacities to reflect upon their actions, mature, and to change.

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