The Instigator
mbronson
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
sstubbs15
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

14 Year olds who have been convicted in adult court of 1st degree murder should be sent to adult

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
sstubbs15
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 383 times Debate No: 66868
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

mbronson

Pro

I agree that 14 year olds convicted of first-degree murders should do time in adult prisons. If you have the mental and physical capacity to commit or attempt to commit this type of murder, then you have the capacity to be treated as an adult for punishment.
sstubbs15

Con

I am against 14 year olds convicted of first-degree murders doing time in adult prisons. A 14 year old's brain is not nearly as developed as even an 18 year old's, therefore they should first be sent to juvenile court, then transferred when they reach the age of 18. Sending them to an adult prison gives the possibility of causing more harm; children are influenced by their environments, and if that 14 year old was placed in an adult penitentiary, it would encourage them to become more violent, as they would look up to the adult prisoners that protect themselves through intimidation. A child should not be sent to an environment that would cause more harm than progress.
Debate Round No. 1
mbronson

Pro

Living in adult prison as a 14 year old is a much better way to punish a murderer. They were old enough to commit this disgusting crime so they are able to spend adult time. Different people cope and react to spending time in prison in different ways. The underground violent environment that exists is not the only environment for prisoners to live in. A 2000 Texas study found that youth in adult prisons had about a 30% lower recidivism rate than those who did time in the juvenile system. Adult prison is not just a violent culture.
sstubbs15

Con

In a juvenile prison, the child would still be punished for their actions and crimes, however they would be treated exactly as they are: a fourteen year old child. The adults that they would look up to would help them understand the punishment they've been sentenced while also guiding them to the right path, instead of encourage them to protect themselves in a prison of adults. According to an article in Harvard Magazine, titled "The Teen Brain," two scientists (Frances E. Jensen and David K. Urion) at both Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School who have been exploring the structure and chemistry in adolescent brains, state that "the brain is only about 80 percent developed in adolescents." The cortex (the largest part) matures form back to front, and is divided into lobes. The last section to merge and develop, which happens between the ages of 25-30, is the frontal lobe which is responsible for cognitive process such as reasoning, planning, and judgement. From this research, it's only natural to assume fourteen year olds are not capable of understanding the repercussions of their actions. Which translates to that in prison, this child will have a higher chance of committing more crimes from being influenced by the older prisoners, even though because of their age they cannot understand what the punishments would be, and be treated the same as an adult who would actually understand.
A child would not know, without proper guidance, how to survive in prison. According to the NY Times article, "In Prison, Teens Become Prey," "Youth advocacy groups report that juveniles housed in adult facilities are 36 times more likely to commit suicide." While youths should be jailed for committing serious and heinous crimes, they should not be forced to commit more crimes, or worse, kill themselves, because of the harsh environment of adult prisons.
Debate Round No. 2
mbronson

Pro

Good rebuttal. IF the brain does not fully develop judgement until the ages 25-30, then those under that age (including 14 year olds) should be treated equally due to an immature and underdeveloped frontal lobe.
It is constitutional.
The Eighth Amendment states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." The sentencing of a 14 year old to adult prison is not a cruel or unusual punishment for the crime. The crime, first-degree murder, is defined as, "an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated, meaning that it was committed after planning for the victim." Pre-meditated murder is enough to argue for being punished in adult prison. It is not wrong to send teenagers who are 14 years old and committed first-degree murders to adult prisons.
sstubbs15

Con

Those who are 25-30 are capable of handling themselves in prison because of their physical demeanor. They are much stronger, and more capable of handling themselves than a 14 year old. And while that part of their brain is not fully developed, other parts of their brain are for more developed than a 14 year olds. You are a minor until you are 18, and that age was not simply set because it sounds like a nice number. It's a huge developmental turning point, both in the brain and body.
Moving on, children in adult penitentiaries hurts not only the children, but also the society. What does it say about the society we live in, who would rather sentence a child who doesn't fully understand the repercussions of his actions, to an adult prison where they would more than likely kill themselves, or commit worse crimes because of how easily influenced they can be at such a young age? The 14 year old should be given a sentence of four years in the juvenile system, then transferred when they are actually able to not only defend themselves in adult prison, but also better understand their actions, at the age of 18.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bennett91 2 years ago
Bennett91
mbronsonsstubbs15Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was too focused on punishment and did not address adequately Con's more nurturing approach to the problem.