Juvenile Crime And Treatment: Causes Of Adolescent Atrocity Essay, Research Paper
April 9, 1998
Juvenile Crime and Treatment: Causes of Adolescent Atrocity
In a small town like Haddon Township, crime does not seem like a serious issue. Small crimes such as vandalism may be looked at as immense. In other parts of the country though, crime is much more serious. There are places where teenagers are being convicted of murder. Some of these teenagers are also receiving the death penalty. The United States is one of the only four countries in the world who puts minors on death row. The juvenile crime rate in America has been increasing steadily for years.
“A young black man, Shareef Cousin, has been put on death row for a crime he was convicted of, killing a 25-year old white man. Shareef was only 16 when he was convicted and sentenced” (Farley). Most of the teens who are convicted of committing these murders have experienced some sort of abuse at some point in their lives. “Robert Anthony Carter was put on death row for crimes he allegedly committed then he was 17. Carter was a victim of child abuse. He had been hit in the head with a brick, baseball bat, dinner plates, to name a few. His abuse and injuries weren?t treated. His IQ is 74 making him semiretarded. This information was not brought up at his trial and could have significantly changed the outcome” (Farley). In the United Sates, “Twelve out of 50 states have juveniles on death row” (Atlanta). Why are we one of only a few countries who dares to put a juvenile on death row?
“Among the adolescents on death row, the family histories revealed distinctive signs such as sexual abuse, violence between parents, extreme violence with weapons by
family members, physical abuse, parental alcoholism, and parental psychiatric hospitalizations” (Crespi 353). Child abuse has a substantial effect on many juvenile, as well as hardened, criminals. “The adolescents were ashamed by their parents brutal behavior and tried to hide and limit the information. This was a factor of abuse not being brought up in the court and eventually bringing on the death sentence” (Crespi 353).
“Dr. Janis F. Breme tells a story, ?I know of one 1987 case in New Jersey where a 9-year old boy was sodomized at least 10 times by his stepfather. The boy was embarrassed and ashamed and his stepfather threatened him with more harm if he told anyone.? ?When he became 12, he did the same thing to his 9-year old brother. The 9-year old brother didn?t tell anyone. Then he, the brother, did the same thing to a 5-year old boy in their neighborhood? ” (Barringer A16). “If a child witnesses or experiences abuse, whether mental, physical, or sexual, they are likely to bring what they see with them and imitate it. ?Little boys who witness or suffer domestic abuse too often grow up to be batterers themselves; little girls grow up to be victims? ” (O?Hair).
“Young people who have killed have the right to get rehabilitation. We have a responsibility to do so. ?If we believe that people can be reformed, can be helped, can benefit from therapy? ” (Godfrey and Beich). “The solutions aren?t easy. But surely one place to start is the very first place that young people witness or experience violence. It?s in the home that many young people learn that guns, knives, or fists are a means of power and control. It?s in the home where they learn to takeout their rage and frustration on
helpless and innocent bystanders. It?s in the home where they learn that violence works” (O?Hair). “Child abuse is not always a factor in the behavior of juveniles. ??many victims of abuse do not go on to be abusers-particularly if their family and peers reinforce healthy attitudes toward sexuality, and if they have a relative they care for and can confide in? ” (Barringer A16). Peer pressure is also a factor in crime amongst adolescents. “A 12-year old boy and a group of his friends kidnapped a 13-year old girl and hang raped and tortured her. This boy’s mother is afraid of him. ?The perverse effect of setting an absolute threshold is that encourages gangs to recruit even younger boys and blame them for serious crimes; the 12-year old?s family claims he is a victim of that? ” (Estrich 14A).
Juvenile crime is an increasing problem in America and America?s youth. If there are ways to prevent the rising crime rate there should be something that should people should be doing to help. There are new cases of crime in American adolescents coming out every day. This is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with in a serious manner. Whether the problem is abuse, peer pressure or anything else, there are ways to get the people the treatment they need.
Barringer, Felicity. “Children as Sexual Prey, and Predators.” New York Times. 30 May 1989; A16.
Crespi, Tony D. and Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGillo. Adolescent homicide and family pathology: implications for research and treatment with adolescents. Vol. 31. Adolescence. 1 June 1996: 353 (15).
Estrich, Susan. “Violent kids can?t be reformed.” USA Today. 8 August 1996: 14A.
Farley, Christopher J. and James Willwerth. “Dead Teen Walking.” Time. 19 January 1998.
O?Hair, John D. Violence in the home translates to violence in the streets. Michigan Chronicle. 6 Aug 1996.
“Too young for death row.” Special Editorial. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 3 March 1996: CO4