Sentencing Youth | Teen Ink

Sentencing Youth

September 10, 2021
By 23jenniferagoodine PLATINUM, Easley, South Carolina
23jenniferagoodine PLATINUM, Easley, South Carolina
24 articles 0 photos 2 comments

“Commit to serve the needs of the ‘least of these and give voice to the voiceless” (Tyner). The United States Justice System is flawed in many ways and makes wrong decisions inside of the courtroom. To place youth in the adult criminal justice system is not fair or acceptable. Crimes in South Carolina, such as murder and statutory rape/sexual assault, allow minors to be tried as adults in the justice system.  

For youth who commit murder, there are legal actions such as the death penalty or life imprisonment sentence of 30 years.  The article, South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated, states, “A person who is convicted or pleads guilty to murder must be punished by death or by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment…” (Legislature). Violence in the state is not acceptable regardless of who is involved, and the state needs to handle violent offenders in ways that protect the people that live there. The article also states, “When the State seeks the death penalty, upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of a defendant of murder, the court shall conduct a separate sentencing proceeding” (Legislature). Even though many people do not agree with the court’s use of the death penalty, it is not unconstitutional as it does serve some purposes of the state. With youth being able to be tried as adults, the death penalty should not be implemented on kids and teenagers. 

Youth who commit sexual crimes are at a risk for charges such as statutory rape and sexual assault. The article, Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors, states, “Juveniles who commit sex offenses against other children are more likely than adult sex offenders to offend in groups and at schools and to have more male victims and younger victims” (“Juvenile Justice Bulletin”). If a 17-year-old male sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl, he would be put on the sexual offender’s list. This then puts them on a public list, and it affects what they do in life. It makes it hard to get a specific job and/or go to college. The article also states, “Some juvenile sex offenders appear primarily motivated by sexual curiosity” (“Juvenile Justice Bulletin”). The majority of youth desire sexual activity or to know about it, so they are more likely to commit the crime. Also, some of the reasons they do it is they are violent and have a bad history of sexual assault and rape.  

Overall, murder and sexual assault committed by youth are illegal offenses that need actions that are not to serve. In response, murder is not acceptable no matter youth or adult who commits it, but youth need a lesser sentence. Sexual assault/statutory rape is another crime that is also not excusable, which youth should be punished for. Murder and statutory rape/sexual assault allow youth to be tried as an adult in the courts of South Carolina 

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