What are juvenile sentences for various criminal acts? Do you think they are fair?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Juvenile sentences for criminal acts are different than adult sentences.  They are based on the idea that children may not have the cognitive ability to fully understand the consequences of their actions.  As a result, these cases go to juvenile court where the punishments are less harsh.  The hope is that by not putting children in prison with adults, these kids can be rehabilitated and taught to lead productive adult lives.  Regarding whether this is fair depends on one's perspective.  Since a child's brain has not fully developed, it makes sense that for some crimes, the punishment be less severe.  Hopefully, through education, coaching, and nurturing, the child can change his or her ways and travel down the right path. For severe or very serious crimes, people may argue that the nature of the crime requires a harsh punishment. This means the child needs to be treated like an adult. Fairness is a very subjective concept. What may seem fair to one person may seem to be very unfair to another. Thus, while it makes sense to some that children be treated differently for some crimes, there are people who would disagree with that process. I believe it fair to treat kids differently than adults depending on the crime and circumstances surrounding it.   

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