Of the five articles in the Juvenile Justice module, only one stands out as the most effective in defending the stance that children should be tried as adults. The most effective article was “On Punishment and Teen Killers,” written by Jennifer Jenkins. This article definitely proves that children should be tried as adults by explaining how influence can have an effect on crime rate, and how underdevelopment of brains cannot be a contributing factor to the reasoning behind teen murders.
In Jenkins article, she stresses that the two main reasons that American teenagers are being “tried… for murder at [an] alarming [rate]” is due to the growing accessibility to violence glorifying culture and unreliable brain research done on children (Jenkins, 6). In the past few decades “violent-loving culture” has grown and the availability of this culture to children is growing stronger (Jenkins, 5). Not only can kids of all ages scroll through the TV to watch Disney Channel, but keep going a couple hundred channels and they could end up in horror film channels that idolize serial murderers or happen across a news network that is discussing gang shootings and violent crimes.
These influences are decreasing children’s sensitivity to violence and increasing the number of crimes committed by juveniles in numerous countries. Another issue brought into the punishment of teen killers is how underdevelopment of the brain affects the responsibility and accountability of children. Most studies show that brains are too underdeveloped in the juvenile stage to fully comprehend one’s actions, but this proves unreliable in the case of juvenile criminals. In fact, “if brain development” did factor in a person’s ability to make decisions, “ teens would kill at roughly the same [rate] all over the world” (Jenkins, 6). But they do not. Juveniles should be able to be tried and convicted as adults, depending on their crime because while they may have outside influences, their brains are developed enough to understand right from wrong.
“On Punishment and Teen Killers” is the most compelling and most reliable article that promotes trying juveniles as adults in murder cases in the juvenile justice module. Jenkins used the United States idolization of violent culture to show how much of an influence the outside world can have on the malleability of kids at a young age. It is this ability to be influenced upon that makes hardened teens who can’t decipher right from wrong. The second, and possibly most compelling, point brought up by Jenkins is the fact that if all teens have underdeveloped brains during their juvenile years, then they would be killing people and committing heinous crimes all over the world at the same rate. But they do not. Each person makes a choice whether to kill or not and juveniles are more than capable of making that decision.