Juvenile Justice

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Juvenile Justice Though crime, in general, is on the decline there are specific crimes and group offenders that are actually increasing. Specific crimes such as hate crimes, those crimes motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group, based on color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, and juvenile crimes have become escalating debates. Lionel Tate, a 12-year-old boy at the time of his actions, is a suitable case to investigate. Using his case, I will address the increase in juvenile delinquency, the contributions to the malice acts, the severity of the crimes being committed by youth, and possible, yet reasonable repercussions. Lionel Tate, now 14, was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole on March 9, 2001. This harsh conviction was founded on the basis of the beating and death of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick. Tate defense lied in the hands of his television heroes, professional wrestlers, whom he claimed he was simply imitating. This argument was not enough to convince the jurors that his actions were an accident. If a defense team was not able to convince a select group of individual that violence on television is becoming more of an issue with youth violence, then how is a nation of parents going to be convinced that television, video games and other public violence is affecting their children. Is every parent going to have to experience what Lionel Tate or Tiffany Eunick's parents experienced to see the effects of a violent society in which children are being raised? Understand that there are more than one cause to juvenile violence. Media and television related violence is only one of the factors. Addressing and trying to correct one issue at a time is going to be the most productive. Take television for example. Lionel Tate was obviously influenced by actions he saw from people, adults, on television. Though not all blame can be put in the hands of the entertainment industry. Other factors including parent control and limitation, and previous behavioral patterns could have prevented Tiffany's death. In the book, Children in a Violent Society, Joy Osofsky makes a strong case about kids and the negative effects of witnessing violence. "Children learn what they see…and they do not learn that violence is bad. Too often, they learn that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict…"(Osofsky, 4). Take a hypothetical situation about Johnny.

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