Deliberation Materials: Juvenile Justice (external link)

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Deliberation Materials: Juvenile Justice

In our democracy, should violent juvenile offenders be punished as adults?

For 17 days, people in the Washington, DC, suburbs waited anxiously for police to catch whoever had killed ten people and seriously wounded two others. The killer(s) shot a 13-year-old as he got off a school bus. Others were shot as they put gas in their cars, mowed their lawns, or left restaurants. The police eventually caught the two suspects; one was a 17-year-old boy. He had been abandoned by his father as a baby, neglected by his mother, and spent time in a homeless shelter. The other was his "mentor,” who had essentially adopted him and taught him how to shoot high-powered rifles at people. At his trial, the boy’s lawyers claimed the older man had brainwashed him into becoming a killer. The teen said he thought the ransom would be used to set up a community for other neglected and abandoned children.