Locked Up And Lost: Article Analysis

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Locked Up and Lost
Imagine spending 10 years of your life in prison without any chance of parole, and unimaginable living conditions, at the age of 16. Over the past years, concern and speculation of criminal justice revolving around juveniles has increased tremendously. In an article about juvenile criminals being sentenced as adults, Clark Merrefield of the Daily Beast explains why this may not be the best way to punish these young criminals. This article takes readers through the lens of Sean Shevlino, who committed robbery, and sentenced for 10 years in prison at the age of 16. Clark Merrefield vaguely states that teens should not be sentenced as adults for multiple reasons. He backs up this claim with information about brain development
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Merrefield may bring up good points, but he fails to address a huge problem. Where is the line drawn between juvenile and adult sentencing, and what psychological investigation is performed on these “delinquent” teens? The answer to that is unclear, and still is today. Many states have different laws and rules that decide where to set boundaries, and where childhood ends and adult criminal responsibility begins. For a crime like Sean’s, which if you read the article, you would know is not as severe or heinous as many other crimes, 10 years in prison is too much. There are many cases of juvenile crimes that seem fit for a sentence as Sean’s, and then there are some that do not. If this issue is to be resolved, there needs to an investigation and thorough consideration when sentencing youth as adults. But when asking whether a juvenile deserves this sentencing you must ask, is it worth it, and it is better for anyone? This is the question Clark Merrefield tries to answer in his article, but never does. An answer cannot be put in one sentence. This issue is very hard to regulate because of the amount of factors that take place. The amount of youth in prison for nonviolent crimes is 30%. The amount of juveniles in the adult criminal system has increased since 1998, when 45 states passed laws enacting and making it easier to prosecute juveniles as adults. These are scary numbers considering 30% are for non-violent …show more content…
There are so many things that must be looked at when deciding to prosecute someone under the age of 18 into the adult criminal system. As mentioned in the beginning, not ALL juveniles should be considered for an adult sentence. However, in some cases the crime committed by the juvenile might merit adult sentencing. A deep and thorough investigation of past criminal records, mental health, nature of the crime, and maturity should be implemented. Trying juveniles and sentencing them to 1o years in prison for a petty crime, as was the case in Sean’s story, is bordering on “criminal” behavior in our justice system. There is a clear difference between being a threat and dangerous, and just being a teenager. It is no doubt that maturity takes different amounts of time for everyone, and it is also clear that the brain has not finished developing until the late 20’s. Why should children be treated as adults when they clearly do not have the same rights or privileges as them (smoking, alcohol, voting, joining the military)? The answer is simple: because it is recognized they are not always capable of making rational adult decisions. Clark Merrefield was thoughtful with his writing and shared Sean’s tragic story, which helped change my view on this subject. It became obvious that Sean’s sentence was way too harsh, and for other’s like Sean, an adult sentence does not seem

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