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Siebenbürgerin
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 05:02 PM
The New York Times is starting a series on "commonplace aspects of the American justice system that are actually unique in the world" and begins with the possibility of sentencing juvenile offenders (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/us/17teenage.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print) to prison for life without any chance of parole:

In December, the United Nations took up a resolution calling for the abolition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for children and young teenagers. The vote was 185 to 1, with the United States the lone dissenter.
Indeed, the United States stands alone in the world in convicting young adolescents as adults and sentencing them to live out their lives in prison. According to a new report, there are 73 Americans serving such sentences for crimes they committed at 13 or 14.
James Whitman, whose fine book (http://www.amazon.de/Harsh-Justice-Criminal-Punishment-Widening/dp/0195155254/ref=sr_1_1/303-9467641-7008242?ie=UTF8&s=books-intl-de&qid=1192613731&sr=8-1) on comparative criminal justice I've read but never gotten around to reviewing, comments on the differences between U.S. and European thinking on criminal justice:

Specialists in comparative law acknowledge that there have been occasions when young murderers who would have served life terms in the United States were released from prison in Europe and went on to kill again. But comparing legal systems is difficult, in part because the United States is a more violent society and in part because many other nations imprison relatively few people and often only for repeat violent offenses.
“I know of no systematic studies of comparative recidivism rates,” said James Q. Whitman, who teaches comparative criminal law at Yale. “I believe there are recidivism problems in countries like Germany and France, since those are countries that ordinarily incarcerate only dangerous offenders, but at some point they let them out and bad things can happen.”
The differences in the two approaches, legal experts said, are rooted in politics and culture. The European systems emphasize rehabilitation, while the American one stresses individual responsibility and punishment.
Corrections professionals and criminologists here and abroad tend to agree that violent crime is usually a young person’s activity, suggesting that eventual parole could be considered in most cases. But the American legal system is more responsive to popular concerns about crime and attitudes about punishment, while justice systems abroad tend to be administered by career civil servants rather than elected legislators, prosecutors and judges.


The source:
http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2007/10/us-alone-in-sen.html

This seems sad, what do you think? I don't think minors should get life sentences. They shouldn't be judged as adults. Teenagers don't know what's right and wrong, they make stupid mistakes, sometimes they are enraged because of drug and alcohol abuse and commit crimes. They should have a chance to have their behaviour corrected. :(

SwordOfTheVistula
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 05:08 PM
To get a life sentence at that age, you have to do something pretty fucked up, like raping and torturing someone. Those people need to be removed from society ASAP

Mrs. Lyfing
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 05:13 PM
Sentencing minors to life in prison is far to harsh to me. They need help and guidance, not to be shut up for the rest of their life. I would think these intelligent people with their degrees could figure, a child is not a waist. A child is a person who will grow and learn, and become anything with the correct guidance.

I also feel for drug users who are slammed with the max, should be in rehab and classes for social skills or whatever they need to better them selves. That way when they walk out the door, they walk out to maybe a new beginning and not a return to the same ol' ways.

Siebenbürgerin
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 05:23 PM
Here sometimes in the news we hear how a teenager was stoned and he was jealous of his girlfriend, so he took a knife and stabbed her or strangled her. It's jealousy killings which are made in moments of anger and rage, coupled with substance abuse. Or they rape their girlfriends or someone else. I agree they should be removed from society asap, but these children need psychological help and treatment and the government won't be helping them if it sentence them to life without parole. What's next, death penalty for minors?

SouthernBoy
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 06:46 PM
What's next, death penalty for minors? We have the death-penalty for minors. ;)

I do not believe in life-sentences though. Anyone who does not ever deserve to live in society again does not deserve to live.

EDIT: Apparently, we do not anymore (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62584-2005Mar1.html).

Crimson Guard
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 07:05 PM
I dont know, usually these people deserve the sentence the law requires. I am not a fan of the UN meddling in the USA's laws, so that right there is troublesome and agenda.

Problem today is that there is too much parole, and they end with repeat offenders and their right back into the system and the tax payers are paying for it again, so not only with their money but also lives. Then when one looks are Race and Crime statistics, well...

SwordOfTheVistula
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 04:52 AM
these children need psychological help and treatment and the government won't be helping them if it sentence them to life without parole.

These people are evil, seeing a shrink isn't going to turn them into good citizens. And besides, the purpose of the criminal justice system is to protect the vast majority of society from the scumbags, not to help the scumbags.

Here's an example of teenagers that could get life sentences (often life doesn't mean that and they get out on parole)

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/local_news/epaper/2007/07/04/s1a_RAPE_ARREST_0704.html

WEST PALM BEACH — A 14-year-old boy confessed Tuesday that he was one of the masked attackers who terrorized a Dunbar Village woman and her son in their home, gang-raping the woman at gunpoint and assaulting the child.

Police said they hope to arrest nine more teenaged assailants who participated in the June 18 attack.

Avion Lawson, a seventh-grader at the Gold Coast alternative middle school, was charged Tuesday with armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators, armed home invasion, aggravated battery and an additional sexual assault charge.

['Alternative Middle School' is the PC term for what used to be called 'reform school', meaning he was already getting 'psychological help and treatment']

Investigators said they believe all involved in the attack are 14 to 18 years old.

The attack began at 8:30 on a Monday evening when one assailant lured the woman from her home by telling her the tires on her car were flat. There, two more masked, armed attackers ambushed her, forcing her back inside.

During the next 20 minutes, seven more attackers followed the others into the apartment, where they raped the mother repeatedly, smashed a plate over the boy's head and poured household chemicals into his eyes, as well as other acts.

After the assailants fled, the victims walked a mile to Good Samaritan Medical Center, where staff members called police.

The details of the crime included acts that revolted veteran investigators.

The attackers did not seem to know the victims, who kept to themselves because the mother was worried that the neighborhood was unsafe for her son, police said.

The apparent randomness of the attack, the number of assailants and nature of the assault prompted investigators to work "day and night, every day," West Palm Beach Lt. Chuck Reed said.


http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/local_news/epaper/2007/07/08/s1c_DUNBAR_SIDE_0708.html

Nathan Walker, 16, and Avion Lawson, 14, are facing charges as adults of armed sexual battery while wearing a mask, home invasion, aggravated battery and charges related to allegedly forcing the woman to have sex with her son.

"They hit him and made him do stuff," the woman's brother said, "and when he didn't do it, they made his mom do stuff."

The woman's father said the attackers poured ammonia on his daughter, a suffocating chemical whose gases alone can burn the eyes and lungs, in attempt to destroy DNA evidence.

Police spokesman Ted White would not confirm or deny ammonia was the cleaning agent used. It also was unclear Saturday whether it was ammonia that the attacker poured in the boy's eyes.

"It's hard to look at him and imagine what happened," the woman's brother said. "It's painful."

Family members said the boy now can see, though the excruciating pain remains. About 48 hours after the attack, the boy was immobile in a hospital bed, a 1 1/2 -inch scar stitched across the top left of his skull and bandages covering both eyes.

"His eyes were closed - always crying," the woman's brother recalled.

The boy and his mother walked about a mile to Good Samaritan Medical Center at least two hours or so after the attack, White said.

The woman's brother said that was their only means of getting medical help. The attackers "robbed them and took everything from the house," he said. That included a cellular phone, the home phone and even a fax machine, the brother added.

MockTurtle
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 06:59 AM
A child is a person who will grow and learn, and become anything with the correct guidance.

Lol, do you realize what this sounds like? This sounds like the same sort of tabula rasa concept that egalitarians of all stripes never stop talking about. A child cannot 'become anything' just because he is a child; in order to become something you must have the requisite natural abilities first.

IMO, a minor who puts himself into a position where he can be convicted for a life sentence is almost certainly not going to be a model citizen, regardless of whatever attention and/or training is given to him. Guidance can only mold and develop the natural abilities that are already present, it can't make them from nothing. Across the board, criminals from all racial backgrounds have substantially lower IQ's, on average, when compared with the general population.

Anyways, myself, I don't really even believe in the concept of 'prison' altogether. The idea that you will be 'correcting' a person who has committed a wrong against society by puting them in an isolated environment with other social misfits who have also wronged society in some way, is completely ridiculous and stupid. I tend to believe more in the 'justice system' of Ancient Attica -- crimes are settled in one of three different ways: monetary fine, exile, or execution. Simply put, if a person has done something so horrible that it can't be settled monetarily, then why should we even want to keep them in our society at all? In such cases, they should either be completely banished from the community (exile) or put to death (execution). Our modern 'justice system' is more about moral cowardice than anything else, IMO.

mischak
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 07:38 AM
I don't remember where I heard this from, it might have even been come comedians skit (maybe Chris Rock? I don't remember), but the US needs to decide what being 15 "means". Many states decide teenagers under the age of 16 are not adult enough to legally consent to having sex, to drive a car, vote, or consume alcohol, but they're adult enough to be sentenced to life in prison on death? I mean, it makes a good point and shows the level on inconsistency and hypocrisy within the American "justice" system and with people in general.

SwordOfTheVistula
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 08:18 AM
I don't remember where I heard this from, it might have even been come comedians skit (maybe Chris Rock? I don't remember), but the US needs to decide what being 15 "means". Many states decide teenagers under the age of 16 are not adult enough to legally consent to having sex, to drive a car, vote, or consume alcohol, but they're adult enough to be sentenced to life in prison on death? I mean, it makes a good point and shows the level on inconsistency and hypocrisy within the American "justice" system and with people in general.

Each person is different, and matures at a different level. The ages are set as a default level based on an estimation of maturity level in society. The default is that those under 18 enter the juvenile justice system, and most of them (including some murderers and rapists) are released by age 21.

Some exceptions exist-some crimes in which an under-18 displays adult-like behavior, such as planning out a crime in advance, are prosecuted as adults as a special circumstance.

Some states also have exceptions to the driving laws, allowing 12-15 year olds to drive farm vehicles or to obtain limited licenses if all the adults in the household are disabled and unable to drive. 17-20 year olds who are active duty military are allowed to drink on military bases.

If someone displays the same forethought towards criminality as an adult, then they should be treated the same. If we just let them back out on the streets because they are below a certain age, they will just create more mayhem for the law-abiding members of society.

Psychonaut
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 09:12 AM
Anyways, myself, I don't really even believe in the concept of 'prison' altogether. The idea that you will be 'correcting' a person who has committed a wrong against society by puting them in an isolated environment with other social misfits who have also wronged society in some way, is completely ridiculous and stupid. I tend to believe more in the 'justice system' of Ancient Attica -- crimes are settled in one of three different ways: monetary fine, exile, or execution. Simply put, if a person has done something so horrible that it can't be settled monetarily, then why should we even want to keep them in our society at all? In such cases, they should either be completely banished from the community (exile) or put to death (execution). Our modern 'justice system' is more about moral cowardice than anything else, IMO.

I'm completely in agreement with you here. I think that contemporary notions about the function of prison being to "reform" prisoners is absolutely bogus. The only change that occurs in the minds of the majority of criminals during their stay in prison is that they learn how to be better criminals. I think that prison should be about punishment, pure and simple. I also think that the cost to the taxpayers of housing, feeding and guarding criminals should be taken from them in the form of physical labor. This is how things are run in military prisons to this day; prisoners "turn big rocks into little rocks" for a myriad of military uses.

Oski
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 09:21 AM
I'm completely in agreement with you here. I think that contemporary notions about the function of prison being to "reform" prisoners is absolutely bogus. The only change that occurs in the minds of the majority of criminals during their stay in prison is that they learn how to be better criminals. I think that prison should be about punishment, pure and simple. I also think that the cost to the taxpayers of housing, feeding and guarding criminals should be taken from them in the form of physical labor. This is how things are run in military prisons to this day; prisoners "turn big rocks into little rocks" for a myriad of military uses.

Its the answer to illegal mexican immigration. Kick em out of our country and make the prisoners do all the field work and other jobs that "whites wont do".

Patrioten
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 10:27 AM
Sentencing minors to life in prison is far to harsh to me. They need help and guidance, not to be shut up for the rest of their life. I would think these intelligent people with their degrees could figure, a child is not a waist. A child is a person who will grow and learn, and become anything with the correct guidance.It sounds as though you're talking about basically innocent kids who have busted a window or something. The kids we're talking about are these:


Investigators said they believe all involved in the attack are 14 to 18 years old.

The attack began at 8:30 on a Monday evening when one assailant lured the woman from her home by telling her the tires on her car were flat. There, two more masked, armed attackers ambushed her, forcing her back inside.

During the next 20 minutes, seven more attackers followed the others into the apartment, where they raped the mother repeatedly, smashed a plate over the boy's head and poured household chemicals into his eyes, as well as other acts.

Kids who rape and murder and torture. These kids commit acts which would be unthinkable to anyone but themselves and their twisted minds. Age is not a factor here, mental capacity is not a factor here. These acts are committed by individuals (young or old, clever or retarded), individuals who are lacking the most basic of human abilities (which doesn't mean that they are not responsible for their own actions, only that they have the ability to disregard all moral and legal boundaries and to behave in accordance with their own wishes) and who willingly commit these acts to satisfy their own needs and desires, be they monetary or sadistic. They are to be punished for the sake of justice, for the sake of deterrence and for the sake individual prevention.

lei.talk
Thursday, August 28th, 2008, 09:50 AM
But comparing legal systems is difficult,
in part because the United States is a more violent society
and in part because many other nations imprison relatively few people
and often only for repeat violent offenses.
James Q. Whitman (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4GZAZ_enUS281US281&q=%22James+Q.+Whitman%22&btnG=Search)http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?p=77737#post77737

Plushtar
Thursday, August 28th, 2008, 04:17 PM
What can I say accept, that I do agree that drug addicts are the only ones deserving of any help (if they request it), but the monsters that commit rape and/or murder should be removed from society.

I have my own solution based on the first post. Since executions and housing cost the system money and the UN is having a fit over it, our nation should just deport these things to the other UN members and let them wreck their nations. If the other nations want them, they can pay the bills.