I have a firm belief that the best course of action against juvenile crime would be a strong stand against it, but mercy can sometimes be inputted. Many juvenile murderers are indiscriminately sentenced to life in prison without parole for the severity of their crimes, in jail, they simply remain alive, never being a part of anything, and benefiting no one. There are people who wish for the young offenders to have a second chance at life by rehabilitating them and alleviating the harshness of their sentence. While I believe that it is possible for a murderer to change his ways, neither justice nor mercy should be given indiscriminately either. The act of murder takes away someone’s life with no way to undo it. Because of the gravity of this crime, careful consideration of the context should be taken to determine whether mercy is suitable. Sometimes it’s the circumstances out of the criminal’s control that causes them to kill, for others they have been led down the wrong path, and some are callous murderers. In any case, before we determine if it is acceptable for the criminal to be rehabilitated, he must first be truly repentant for his actions. It is counterproductive to send any and all criminals to rehab, if they do not even realize the horror and gravity of their actions. Ultimately, the capability of the criminal to be reformed is up to himself.
To first deal with the problem of adolescent crime, we must first recognize that their cases are not often black and white. Not all criminals are the same; many have different motivations for committing their crimes. Some of these criminals callously murder for their own agenda or benefit, such as members of street gangs characterized by their violence. However, there cases of adolescent criminals who are victims of years of abuse, and in desperation, they murder to defend themselves.
An excellent example of a victim-murderer would be Sara Kruzan, who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and human trafficking, furthermore, she was blackmailed into murdering a man, the same man who forced and trained her to become a prostitute. For murdering the man who victimized her, Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison. Undeniably, it is wrong to murder, however, in cases like Kruzan’s, mercy should be given. Kruzan was not attempting to make others into victims, on the contrary, it could be said that she was a victim herself. Due to her circumstances and national petitions and campaigns, her sentence was later reduced to nineteen years in prison. Like Sara said in the video, it cannot be ignored when a person takes someone’s life, but the law should not ignore the fact that she was trying to defend her family and herself, and had the law protected her from such a tragic childhood, this murder would never had happened.
There appears to be a problem in our country today. In the media recently, there seems to be an increase in the number of violent crimes occurring. These senseless acts of violence include murder, sexual offenses, and shootings. What makes these severe crimes even more incomprehensible is that many of them were committed by youths with long lives ahead of them. From my observation, there seems to be much controversy and indecisiveness in dealing with these young criminals; some people believe that these youths should be treated leniently, giving them opportunity to reform, while others believe that a strict punishment should be enforced to serve as a warning to other adolescents, preventing them from committing crimes. There is a need for concrete standards in giving mercy; I personally believe that a person’s age should not matter in determining the severity of his punishment. Most people, including minors, know that they are responsible for their actions and should be expected to be held responsible for them. Too much leniency for minors is very likely the reason why so many adolescents are indifferent to the law and are willing to break them without any fear of punishment. The law should be strictly enforced and upheld to discourage crimes, especially those of violent nature, however, I do believe that there is an appropriate place and time for leniency in the court, and in some situations, it is actually needed.