Save the Kids

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I am currently a sophomore student at the University of Maryland enrolled in a juvenile delinquency class. In this class, I am learning all about juvenile delinquency and the ways that it can impact a young person’s life. I am currently learning about how they are being sentenced to adult prisons at a young age and I feel there needs to be something done about this, such as more support being given to juvenile detention facilities over the alternative of throwing them in prison. Children have a lot of time left to grow, and their minds are not fully developed until well into adulthood. In situations like these we have to take a closer look at the full story to see if there are ways of stopping the child from taking the path of delinquency. My petition is to make the change that juveniles who commit any type of crime should be sentenced to juvenile detention facilities rather than sentenced to adult prisons. I am petitioning for the Department of Justice to make this change.  

One case that recently resurfaced due to multiple celebrity retweets was the Cyntoia Brown case. Brown was incarcerated at age 14 and tried at age 16. She was charged with first degree murder and a second degree felony murder, resulting in her being sent to adult prison. However, the circumstances surrounding this case were negligent given her age was not taken into consideration. Based on her crime committed against 43-year-old Johnny Allen, it was a harsh crime in which she should be held accountable for. However, I feel that looking at this case altogether; the fact is that she is a young child who had been raped and held as a prostitute for many years. Johnny was going to have sex with Cyntoia for $150. Looking into this case as more than just a young girl murdering and robbing a 43-year-old man, she feared that he was going to kill her so her crime was simply an act of self-defense. Now, she will not be released on parole until she is 69 years of age. The question becomes, did her sentence fit the punishment and was this handled properly?

This case is just one of many cases of a child getting sentenced to an adult prison. The criminal justice system is responsible for three things in this case: punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation. In this case, Cyntoia had many problems growing up and she was just a young girl who could have been saved, but was instead betrayed by the juvenile justice system. There has been a lot of controversy about how the system is set for punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation, and which would have been best for her case.

If you would like to support youth who commit crimes sent to juvenile detention facilities rather than adult prisons, please sign this petition.

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