Tuesday, November 10, 2009

children should get equal treatment in society

The Supreme Court is considering now whether it is constitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole. One of the cases involves a 13 year old boy who committed a heinous crime. A few years ago, the court decided that children couldn't be executed for crimes because of their diminished capacity as youngsters. This extends that question.

We should either eliminate the absolute distinction between adulthood and being child or make it consistent throughout society. If a 13 year old is not able to drink alcohol, smoke cigarrettes, drive a car, make a contract, etc. because they are assumed not to be able to make good judgements then whatever crime they commit should be understood to be made by someone who is not capable of making good adult-like judgements.

I disagree with this approach though. I think people of all ages should be able to establish their mental capacity and receive the appropriate benefits. Likewise, if their behavior shows negative traits associated with adult criminals they should be treated as such.

Clearly some children are just that and should be treated accordingly. But others are clearly mature and rational.

I'm arguing for equal treatment. It will give those mature young people a positive way to express their energy rather than only being held accountable in a negative situation.

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