If juveniles have a mental disability they should not be sentenced to life in prison without parole, especially when it is a non homicidal crime. When children experience neglect and abuse it can take them down a dark path, which often leads to jail. Joe Sullivan's case is an example of this. As a child, Joe suffered from childhood abuse, which included both physical and sexual assault. This abuse took a toll on his mental state and led him to be easily manipulated by older kids. From age ten until he was arrested, he had no stable home and had lived in as many as ten different addresses in the span of three years. He spent much of his time on the street, where he committed crimes like stealing a bike, trespassing, and other non-violent crimes …show more content…
In Joe's case, the criminal justice system is way too harsh on a mentally disabled thirteen year old, who lacked a steady home and suffered child abuse and neglect. His punishment is a prime example of how society is too harsh on children who commit non homicide crimes, especially given the circumstances in this case. Instead of helping Joe, they locked him up for life, where nobody cared about him. When they imprisoned him, they didn't even send him to a juvenile prison, but instead sent him to an adult prison, where he was left vulnerable and an easy target. Kids should not be going to adult prisons as juveniles because the harsh environment prevents them from rebounding back from their past mistakes. Society is too harsh on kids who commit crimes at a young age. These kids should not let one event from their childhood define their …show more content…
Although he is set to be released in less than two years, he does not obtain the help he needs while in prison, where he has resided for almost three decades. It is a devastating story because most people do not understand the help he needs. It's the people who would surprise you the most that do. One of Joe’s Inmates noticed Joe’s severe mental disability, “An inmate incarcerated with Joe writes to EJI about Joe's abuse and his disability" (“Joe Sullivan Character Analysis” N.P.). This inmate realized that Joe does not deserve to be in prison, but instead needs help getting out so that he can receive the help that he needs. Maybe, if someone as empathetic as this inmate had realized Joe needed help as a child, he would not be sitting in a jail cell right now. Rather, he would be a successful man with a nice job and a family. Society is too harsh on the mentally disabled, and tends to neglect the horrific backgrounds of these people. If a child is headed down the wrong path, people need to stop and offer to help. Then, in the future, people will learn his family history, take a new approach on his trial, and offer to aid him. If anyone had helped Joe when he most needed it, he might be in a better
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Juveniles need rehabilitation instead of lifelong sentences their deviance could be factors of conformity to how they grew up, and we need to help them grow out of their old ways to become a new person instead of sitting in a cell for the rest of their
In the book, Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson covers many aspects of the legal system, including Stevenson’s quest to create fairness for convicted children. Through Stevenson’s experiences, he sees, first hand, children who are sent to adult prisons. Specifically he saw how the prisoners who were convicted as children revert to a diminishing mental state and often have a great deal of trouble readjusting if they are even remotely capable of doing so. One experience that Bryan Stevenson encountered was with a young fourteen year old named Charlie whose case illustrated the impacts of an adult world in a child’s head. Unlike Charlie, children should never be pushed into adult prisons or receive adult punishments because of their lack of clear understanding
Today we have between 200,000 and 250,000 children below the age of 18 being charged as an adult every year in the United States. What’s important to note, is that the racial gap in arrest rates is even larger for teens than adults as kids of color are disproportionately affected. Willie has spent the last 30 years in isolation and as a 54 year old man he has nothing to look forward to but the same. He has claimed to have committed over 2,000 crimes and while his original crimes only netted him 5 years of incarceration, he soon proved unable to live in society by assaulting a 72 year old man soon after his initial release. Once in jail again he stabbed a guard and was sentenced to 25 years to life.
I also disagree with the fact that children lack maturity; to a certain level they do as well as some adults. There are some adults that never reached the age of maturity, but that does not mean that they should get a lesser time when committing a crime just because they are not mature. Lastly, I believe anyone is capable of being rehabilitated no matter what age they are; if they have the desire and are willing to put in the work to be reformed, then they should be given that option with strict stipulations (Flynn, E.H,
In Just Mercy, author Bryan Stevenson recounts his time as a lawyer in Alabama during a time when the reality of racism in America was being seen for what it truly is; unjust and unfair. One of the connections Stevenson draws is that of slavery and the ties it has to today’s criminal justice system. In a study by the National Academic Press, it was estimated that in 1972, 161 U.S. residents were incarcerated in prisons/jails per 100,000 population; by 2007, that rate had more than quintupled to a peak of 767 per 100,000 (Jeremy Travis, 2014, p.33). In 2014, when Stevenson’s memoir was published, the number of those incarcerated estimated around 1.56 million— 58 percent of those identified as either Latino or Black (Carson, 2014).
The book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson brings awareness to the unfairness in the justice system and in our federal prisons. Incarceration of citizens suffering with mental health issues is a problem in our U.S prisons and the justice system but there are solutions to this problem like offering different programs to the mentally ill. In the book Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson gives a glimpse of the cruel, unjust sentencing practices problems we have with our justice system. Our prisons are flooded with inmates who suffer from a mental illness and with correction officers who are not properly trained to handle inmates who suffer from this hidden illness.
What if your loved one was savagely killed by a teenager with no remorse? Juveniles should be convicted as adults for ferocious crimes because even though they are “kids” they kill innocent people and should get punished for the crime they committed. Teenagers commit gruesome crimes like murder and knowing what they are makes the situation far worse. In the article “Kids are Kids-Until They Commit Crimes” the author Jennifer Jenkins talks about the teenagers that committed gory murders against innocent people that didn’t deserve to die like a road animal. For example, a 13 year old shot to death an english teacher.
There are many children in the world who are being put behind bars and detained for alleged wrongdoing without protections they are entitled to. Throughout the world, children are charged and sentenced for actions that should not be considered as adult crimes. Here in the United States, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is age 12. Law enforcement officials and those in the juvenile justice system nationwide tend to mistreat underage individuals by trying cases while working through the lens of an adult. Unfair punishments are still handed down domestically, which is in violation of Supreme Court law.
When a person of poverty is arrested, they more than likely do not have a lawyer so they have one appointed to them. As stated in the book, “Joe’s appointed appellate counsel filed an Ander’s brief- indicating his belief that there were no legitimate grounds for appeal and no credible basis to complain about the conviction or sentence- and was permitted to withdraw from representing Joe”(Stevenson 259). Joe was one who did not have the same equal opportunities as the wealthy people, therefore his appointed lawyer was withdrawn from representing him which is not fair. The judge sentenced him anyway. There was no sympathy from the justice system.
The criminal justice system was created in order to punish people who choose to break the law. Some people believe they are above the law and decided to do whatever they like regardless of the consequences. Children and adults are both responsible for the actions they commit. The criminal justice should tried children as adults for committing felonies because a crime is a crime regardless of the age of the individual. This can be fulfilled by punishing juvelives with the correct sentence, by seeing that they know their actions lead to consequence and they have the proper process for a teen to be tried as adult.
As he faced justice through the court system, advocates unnecessarily argued that he was only a child and too young to serve as an adult. To show that an individual’s age should not be used as an excuse to justify their actions, Weir states “Some juveniles commit crimes so serious, so heinous, that public safety mandates — and justice demands — full accountability in our criminal justice system. There are those who argue this is unfair and unjust. They say the juvenile brain is not fully developed until well into the
When teen felons choose to act without thinking, they are putting other people’s lives at risk. They need to be charged as adults because the victims of the crimes will not be given the justice they deserve when they have to worry about that criminal harming them again. Although some people think that sending a juvenile through adult court gives them no hope, they should have given this a little thought before committing the crime. Teens need to think about the consequences and how their actions affect others before they act. When choosing between putting a violent adolescent in prison and taking the chance of letting them commit that crime again, it is most suitable to let the teen be tried as an adult and to place them in prison.
Bryan Stevenson knew the perils of injustice and inequality just as well as his clients on death row. He grew up in a poor, racially segregated area in Delaware and his great-grandparents had been slaves. While he was a law student, he had interned working for clients on death row. He realized that some people were treated unfairly in the judicial system and created the Equal Justice Institute where he began to take on prisoners sentenced to death as clients since many death row prisoners had no legal representation of any kind. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson focuses on some of these true stories of injustice, mainly the case of his client, Walter McMillian.
Doing so has had countless adverse effects on the youth. Despite this, many prisons and facilities have turned a blind eye to these negative factors, and continue to plant them in the adult systems. Children should not have to be put in jails and prisons with adults because they have an increased chance of being raped, educational services are often too expensive, and their minds are inclined to becoming mentally unstable, which often leads to suicide. Solutions to these issues include lifting the ban that prevents grants to be awarded to inmates, and abolishing children from adult jail facilities altogether. Conversely, others may argue that these children deserve this treatment, children are becoming more intelligent and know right from wrong, and that these sentences will show others what can potentially happen.