When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences?


Darrius H.

A police officer intent on catching a running juvenile offender.

There are many different opinions on this topic because of the range of ages and the severity of the crime. The youngest juvenile offender to be taken to court was Lionel Tate who murdered six-year-old Tiffany Euniel at the age of 13. He was sentenced to jail time of 3 years on a sentence of 2nd-degree murder, but declined and chose to keep going to court and try for a non-guilty verdict, which he was given later. After committing another crime, he went back to court, where he was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for 30 years. Before he went on trial, Tate confessed that he wanted to kill himself and had been hearing voices in his head. This example of a juvenile offender is not the worst or best story, but the punishment was right for the severity of the crime committed.

  The crimes committed by juvenile offenders are smaller such as shoplifting, vandalism, and more. These crimes should not be supported by anyone and should have a consequence such as juvenile detention for a certain amount of months or years, but not in prison. Shop-lifting and vandalism should result in court and juvenile detention or something more intense, depending on the severity of what the minor did. The next crime is disorderly conduct, which might include cursing or fighting with a person of authority in any place. This crime will not put the minor in jail or juvie detention, but the minor will have to speak for their actions. The crime that could be associated with disorderly conduct is assault, which can put the minor in jail. The crimes described are not severe and might not put a minor in prison but consequences will have to take place.

These next crimes are more severe, and jail time is mandatory no matter the degree of the crime. The first of these crimes are unarmed or armed robberies, which will lead to many years spent in prison. Both types of robberies are usually not committed by minors but have happened before, and the time in jail is 15 years. Only the fines depend on the degree of the crime, but the jail time is always the same. The next crime committed by minors that will lead to jail time are motor vehicle crimes of any kind. The significant types of motor vehicle crimes are vehicle assault and vehicular homicide. These types of vehicle crimes will result in a minimum of 1 year in county jail or a maximum of 6 years in state prison. There are so many more of these types of crimes, but these are only a few examples.

There are many minors who commit horrible crimes and are not given the consequences needed to justify their actions. The most common of the severe crimes are murder, any type of assault, any relation to illegal drugs, and abusing the right to bear arms. All these crimes have the resulting punishment of sentence of lifetime prison.