Resolved: In the US, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adult criminals.
Debate Rounds (3)
Within the terms of today's resolution, we need to be focused on the value of societal welfare. Social welfare can be defined as the accomplishment or lack of accomplishment of setting strong standards for the people of the society. To achieve societal welfare, we must be focused on the value criterion of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is best defined as the restoration of someone to a useful place in society. The government has the obligation to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents and prepare them to return to society. These juveniles, if rehabilitated, have the potential of contributing to society, which is in the best interest of societal welfare.
Today's resolution asks whether we should treat juveniles charged with violent felonies as adults in the criminal justice system. According to the US Code (Title 18 Section 5031), a juvenile is a person who "has not attained his or her twenty-first birthday." Although this is the case, this is subject to state law. According to the US Code (Title 18 Section 924), a violent felony is defined as "any act … that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." The law that prevents juveniles from being treated as adults in the criminal justice system is found in the US Code (Title 18 Section 5039). It states, "No juvenile committed…to the custody of the Attorney General may be placed or retained in an adult jail or correctional institution in which he has regular contact with adults incarcerated." As it stands now, violent juveniles are placed in facilities separate from incarcerated adults and they do not receive a trial by jury. The media does not know the identities of the juvenile offenders and their records do not reflect that they were criminals as juveniles. Today, the affirmative is suggesting a change to this legislation. This is not in the best interest of the United States and therefore, I stand firmly in the resolution that juveniles charged with violent felonies ought not to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
My first contention is that imposing an adult prison sentence on a juvenile jeopardizes society's ability to rehabilitate the juvenile. Spending time with hardened criminals and being influenced by these people does not lead to a change in behavior that is needed for these juveniles to change. Throughout childhood years, it is consistently reinforced that who we spend time with significantly influences who we become as people. According to this theory, juveniles incarcerated with adults will not change their behavior and the poor influences may propel them into a life of crime upon their release from prison. In a juvenile detention center, these juveniles are influenced by positive adults who encourage them to avoid crime in the future. The purpose of juvenile detention centers is to rehabilitate these minors and this cannot be achieved in adult prisons. It is important that these juveniles are able to return to society in a better mental state because they can contribute to society, which is in the best interest of societal welfare.
My second contention is that being around these criminals is not ideal for the safety of these juveniles. Many of these criminals are in prison for violent crimes. According to the US Department of Justice, about 52 percent of all offenses are violent crimes. It is not a good idea to place vulnerable youths with hardened criminals who have a past history of violence. This significantly increases the chance that these minors will be abused in prison. It is not in the best interest of societal welfare to place vulernerable juveniles in a situation that threatens their well being.
Third, the brain of a teenager or younger is not fully developed and these juveniles' decisions should not harm their future. A person's brain is not fully matured until the age of twenty-five, specifically the prefrontal cortex, which governs reasoning, advanced thought and impulse control. This means that one might not make a decision in his later years that he makes as a minor. The frontal lobe is the last part of the brain to completely develop. The maturation of the frontal lobe has been shown to correlate with cognitive functioning. During this period, adolescents tend to rely on emotions and their gut feelings rather than using their cognitive abilities. The brain of teenager or younger is not fully developed and it does not take their potential to contribute to society and therefore it is not in the best interest of societal welfare to allow these juveniles' decisions to harm their future.
Today, I, the negative, negate the resolution, on the basis of societal welfare through rehabilitation.
My first contention is that the degree of crime should be equivalent to the degree of punishment. Why should it matter somebody's age to determine the punishment if they did the exact same thing. Violent crimes are not just small crimes, a kid cannot use the excuse that their brains are underdeveloped because at any age everybody knows at least to some extent that murder and assault is wrong, if somebody did not know the difference from right and wrong, there will be discrepancies in court to put them in the right place. There are cases like the "Central Park jogger" incident, (where more 30 teenagers attacked anyone they saw, including a 26-year-old female investment banker who was beaten with bricks and a lead pipe before being gang raped and left for dead. and high school shootings like one in Paducah Kentucky where a 14 year old high school student opened fire on classmates killing three and injuring five others.) In these cases adolescents commit a serious crime that are worse than most adult crimes. wouldn't you say regardless of whether a kid or a adult committed a serious crime they deserve a equally bad punishment? The adult court will keep the juveniles in jail for a longer time, ensuring safety for the public.
My second contention is: when violent crime committing juveniles are treated like adults, it is more effective than being treated as a Juvenile. Scott and Steinberg, law professors and Psychology professor say the juvenile court system has failed to deal with today's savvy young criminals who use guns to commit serious crimes. Criminal Justice Champion and Mays, Professors at California State University said that the juvenile justice system does not have the facilities and programs to treat serious offenders, and that the youngster's behavior warrants harsher treatment that is not available in the juvenile justice system. Elrod and Ryder professors of criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University also said something else similar that "criminal courts are better equipped to deal with chronic, serious, and Violent Judicial offenders." The juvenile court is also ineffective because the juvenile court has around a fifty one percent re- arrest rate.#is it really right to place these criminals in a place were they cannot even be handled effectively? Juveniles should be treated as adults in the criminal justice system because the adults jails can actually deal with these prisoners a way that the juvenile system cannot. Juveniles should be treated as adults because the adult system can effectively incapacitate these juveniles and hold them tell they are ready to go out in the real world
My third point is that having consequences harsher for violent crimes in youths acts as a deterrence to the youth. The deterrence theory states that if the consequence of committing a crime outweighs the benefit of the crime itself, the individual will be deterred from committing the crime. professor of law Scot and professor of psychology Steinberg said "first, the threat of harsh sanctions may deter future crime generally by discouraging youths from ever getting involved in criminal activity. Second, imprisonment prevents crime by incapacitating offenders. Third, imprisonment could reduce future crime by rehabilitating young offenders so that they will mend their criminal ways" Champion and Mays, Criminal Justice Professors at California State University said Deterrence presumes that punishing an offender will prevent him or her from committing further acts of deviance, or will dissuade others from law-violating behavior, and the transfer of juveniles to adult court should serve a deterrent function. The adult criminal justice system has a worse punishment than the juvenile court therefore it will serve as a better deterrent factor to stop the juvenile violent crime. Effective deterrence will be able to ensure safety because it will stop the crime before it happens. When the consequences are worse, there will be less crime; therefore Juveniles should be treated as adults in the criminal justice system if they committed a violent crime.
now on to argue his case
his value is societal welfare with a value criterion of rehabilitation, however keeping the nation safe by incapacitating these violent will better achieve societal welfare. we cannot jeopardize safety by letting the violent juveniles off easy.
he brings the point up that the adult court destroys rehabilitation, as i stated, safety is more important than rehabilitation.
in his second contention, my opponent says that being around adult prisoners will be bad for the prisoners. in this debate, we should not be looking at how we can help the violent criminal, they committed a violent crime they need to be treated like it but we should look for how we can help the safety of society which as shown in my case, is supported by the affirmative side
he brings up brain research on how they are not developed however the research defense society said "Much of what we know about the human brain comes from neuroscience research on monkeys. We have too little detail about how the human brain is organized for computer models of the brain to be of great use at this stage." so brain research cannot be accurate therefore it cannot be used in showing weather or not juveniles are matured. as i stated mortality is already present in juveniles so they should be held accountable for violent crimes.
In today's debate, my opponent is focused on the value of safety and he sees that this can be achieved through incapacitation and deterrence, which is essentially scaring the victim out of committing criminal acts. While I believe that safety is essential to the well-being of society, we need to be focused on societal welfare through rehabilitation in today's debate, as this is the ultimate goal of a society. In order to achieve more effective and long-term societal welfare, rehabilitation best achieves this because by properly rehabilitating these juvenile criminals, we allow them to contribute to society rather than being incapacitated and scared out of doing this again. In addition, deterrence is not an effective approach to dealing with juvenile criminals because the deterrence theory presumes a rational decision maker who weighs the expected costs and benefits of criminal activity against the risk and perceived consequences. However, juveniles lack the prefrontal cortex of their brain controlling decision making, and therefore, they cannot think logically and deterrence cannot work for them.
In my opponent's first contention, he suggests that juveniles ought to be equally punished for their actions because essentially, they have a basic sense of right and wrong. First, I will address my opponent's point concerning equality of punishment. In society, the degree of crime is not equivalent to degree of punishment. For example, manslaughter and murder have the same outcome but different punishments. Juveniles do not fully function and therefore, the degree of crime should not be equal to degree of punishment. Many juveniles who are charged with criminal offenses may not know the difference between right and wrong. Many of these juveniles are raised in less than desirable homes and may not have sufficient training in morals to recognize the difference. In addition, while juveniles may have a sense of right and wrong, we have proven medically that their brains are not as matured as adults in the prefrontal cortex, which governs reasoning, advanced thought and impulse control. While a juvenile may know right and wrong, they do not have the capacity to consistently act upon this knowledge. Moreover, my opponent contradicts himself and further proves the negative when he provides that if juveniles do not know the difference between right and wrong, they should be treated differently by the courts. As I have deemed his right/wrong point invalid, we can only turn to that if they do not have impulse control to make good decisions, as proven medically, they ought to be treated differently by the courts.
My opponent's second contention is essentially questioning the deterrence and overall effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. He is not able to show how these programs and facilities are not effective, with the exception of higher deterrence, which decreases our ability to evaluate the infrastructure of juvenile justice. As I have already stated deterrence is not the answer to our problems because the juveniles' underdeveloped brain does not learn from deterrence. Rather, we need to be focused on rehabilitation, with the goal of using these juveniles in the future. In addition, my opponent claims that juveniles who are tried by juvenile courts have a 51% recidivism rate. According to the Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, "There is no national recidivism rate for juveniles. Such a rate would not have much meaning since juvenile justice systems vary so much across states." I would ask my opponent to provide his source for this and the specific details of the study.
My opponent's third contention states that the adult system acts as deterrence, which is the answer to our problems with juvenile offenders. Once again, juvenile deterrence is not effective. My opponent attempts to justify the fact that by incapacitating these offenders, this will somehow rehabilitate these juveniles. Deterrence is superficial and shallow, but if we focus on rehabilitation, these juveniles will be able to function in society once again because true rehabilitation is changing the character of the person itself rather than putting them behind bars or scaring them out of doing something.
To rebuild my own case: My opponent states that societal welfare is best achieved through his value criterion of deterrence and incapacitation but this not the case. In order for our society to truly achieve its best, we need the use of these juveniles in the future, which cannot be achieved through deterrence or incapacitation, as these are merely simplistic solutions to major problems. In addition, if these juveniles are rehabilitated there will be no need to worry about safety because these juveniles will not be a threat. In his attack of my second point, my opponent is essentially advocating for the act of child abuse, because they "deserve" it. In addition, he advocates for the idea of eye for eye and tooth for tooth: If these juveniles committed a violent felony, why shouldn't they be harmed? In addition, while prisoners do not hold as prominent a position in society, they are still in society. My opponent suggests that for the good of society, we ought to allow these juveniles to be beaten. When attacking my third contention, he states that doctors results concerning juvenile brain development is inaccurate because they solely use monkey brains and that juveniles are responsible for their actions because their sense of morality is developed. I have adequately refuted the latter above by saying, "Many juveniles who are charged with criminal offenses may not know the difference between right and wrong. Many of these juveniles are raised in less than desirable homes and may not have sufficient training in morals to recognize the difference. In addition, while juveniles may have a sense of right and wrong, we have proven medically that their brains are not as matured as adults in the prefrontal cortex, which governs reasoning, advanced thought and impulse control. While a juvenile may know right and wrong, they do not have the capacity to consistently act upon this knowledge." To the point concerning monkey brains, it must be made clear that my opponent stated that "much of what we know" comes from monkey brain research. This is open-ended and therefore, we cannot be sure that our research concerning cognitive functioning did not come directly from a human brain. But let's assume that this research did indeed come from the brain of a monkey. The doctors who are doing this research are extremely educated on the similarities and differences between the human brain and the monkey brain and would not waste their time if they did not see this study useful. Also, in a very critical science world, if these studies were completely wrong, as my opponent would like you to believe, this would data would not have been published. For these reasons, I can only see a negative in today's debate.
My opponent states "In order for our society to truly achieve its best, we need the use of these juveniles in the future." we need juveniles, correct but it would be best not to have these juveniles who commit violent crimes, he is statement is saying that these juveniles are the only juveniles, however normal juveniles would be better for the future of America rather then sending the violent juveniles back on the streets to re-commit crime. In my opponent's entire case, he says how we should allow them to be an active member of society. But let's be real, people who caused serious harm or death to a person forfeited their right to be a member of society. Let me also add that once someone goes to prison, they are not a full member of society, prisoners will never be able to vote after their time is up in prison, the government agrees with me saying they don't deserve full benefits of society. My opponent's case is saying that the welfare of society is achieved through putting violent juveniles back on the streets. The juvenile system will have a smaller sentence, we cannot count on maybe two years of rehabilitation to so call "fix" kids who killed someone, and it will not work. This jeopardizes society's safety not achieving his value. There is nothing about rehabilitating a violent juvenile that will provide societal welfare.
in my opponents first contention, he acts like rehabilitation programs will completely stop the juvenile from getting re- arrested, however it will not there is still recidivism, Jane Wilson of Stanford university said there is around a 75 percent recidivism rate in the juvenile justice system. I know he had a quote showing that there is no national recidivism rates however to get the point across that there is a significant amount of recidivism and that rehabilitation cannot always work, any accounts of recidivism will support that.
On my opponents second contention he said I am "promoting child abuse" by saying that they belong in the jails hover my opponent would be promoting violent crime by saying they should get off easy. My opponent states that I am saying that we should allow these juveniles to be beaten don't let him fool you, these aren't innocent kids, these are people threatening their peer's lives, they did commit a violent crime after all. The juveniles would be around a bad group of people and likely to get beat in a juvenile court as well. also, might I add that violent criminals getting beat will not harm societal welfare, it will harm the welfare of a violent criminal who has already committed a violent crime in absolutely no way will society be affected.
To attack his third point, my opponent states that juveniles may have grown up me a home where morality is not present, how could this be so? Nobody could have lived their life with ought knowing hurting someone is wrong. If not at home they could learn it through school, movies, TV and other outlets into society. If such an instance where a chilled has not been exposed to society, there will be discrepancies in court and they will not receive as harsh as a punishment. also let me bring up the research on babies by Paul bloom professor of psychology at the infant cognation center there were puppet shows and the toddlers were asked to chose their favorite character, the majority of babies always chose the character that did the morally right thing. If morality is present in toddlers, than it is present in juveniles. He then says that my statistic on brain science was open ended. however he only attacked the first part, let me re- quote the second part "We have too little detail about how the human brain is organized for computer models of the brain to be of great use at this stage." this quote is showing how we have little detail on the way the brain works, sure the doctors may be smart, however there is still not enough known to state that juveniles lack all decision making parts of the brain.
on to rebuild my case
first, he attacks my value criterion of deterrence by bringing up the deterrence theory and saying juveniles aren't rational desicion makers, however I have disproved his entire contention of how the juveniles cant make decisions. also deterrence is apparent in society. what keeps the juveniles from committing crimes, obviously it benefits them, they kill someone they hate makes them satisfied, steeling something is like receiving something free, however what stops them from all committing this crime, according to his case, my opponent would say nothing, but the only thing possible that could stop them is deterrence because it is apparent that not every juvenile has committed a violent crime. also I will add that my opponent never attacks the other part of my value criterion which is incapacitation, it stands untouched. I don't know why, to clarify my value criterion incapacitation means to keep violent juveniles in jail or incapacitated away from society to protect against feuter crime. incapacitation is a big part of my case, in order to attack my case, my opponent needed to attack that.
to refute my first contention, my opponent tries to say that in society degree of crime is not equivalent to the punishment because someone charged with murder is different than someone with manslaughter. however that is not what I am talking about if the juvenile committed murder, they ought to be treated like they did. if a juvenile commits manslaughter they ought to be treated like they did. he brings up their lack of culpability, I already disproved his point on underdeveloped so he cannot use that, also they consciously committed the crime, because they are a juvenile does not make a crime like murder an accident.
in my second contention, my opponent states that I have not proved how the juvenile courts are ineffective. allow me to restate it (Scott and Steinberg, law professors and Psychology professor say the juvenile court system has failed to deal with today's savvy young criminals who use guns to commit serious crimes. Criminal Justice Champion and Mays, Professors at California State University said that the juvenile justice system does not have the facilities and programs to treat serious offenders, and that the youngster's behavior warrants harsher treatment that is not available in the juvenile justice system. Elrod and Ryder professors of criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University also said something else similar that "criminal courts are better equipped to deal with chronic, serious, and Violent Judicial offenders.") that is evidence showing how violent juveniles are more effectively treated in the adult court is it not? I acknowledge the quote discrediting a national scale of recidivism but I did not see him show how there is a higher recidivism rate in the adult court anywhere, I offered two studies showing high recidivism in the juvenile courts. I will ask my opponent to provide anything that shows the adult court with higher recidivism. he asked for a source "Preston Elrod & R. Scott Ryder, Professor of Criminal Justice-Eastern Kentucky University"
I have already proved the effectiveness of deterrence so I do not find in necessary to repeat in my defense of my third contention.
I have attacked his VC concerning incapacitation because my focus on rehabilitation shows that incapaciting them is not positive and that we need to rehabilitate them.
My opponent primarily states that my case is invalid because juveniles know morals, but if they do not have impulse control, then this does not matter.
1) In order to maximize the welfare of society, we need to rehabilitate these juveniles, so that they can be useful in the future. Effective rehabilitation can do this for even violent juveniles.
2) My opponent fails to address the fact that juveniles do not have impulse control, which makes their knowledge of morals inapplicable.
3) He has no basis to say that there is higher recidivism because there is no possible way to measure this.
4) His value and value criterion are contradictory.
5) He is focused on scaring the juvenile and incapacitating, which is not the solution for a better society
my opponent states my value criterion contradicts itself. this comment makes no since he says "Deterrence is scaring them out of doing something but this does not matter if we are focused on incapacitating them." I am saying that the harsher punishment that the adult system has will make the juvenile never want to commit the crime because they will no longer have a two year sentence for murder but a lifetime sentence. incapacitation is keeping the juveniles who did commit the crime away from society so they can never commit the crime again. deterrence is not only for the people who have gone two jail, but it is for everyone. as for recidivism rates, I brought up two different studies using two different states. I was only using recidivism two show how rehabilitation programs in the juvenile system will not be 100% effective. the quote on how recidivism on a national level cannot be effective cannot disprove a single recidivism example on a single state. my opponent makes scaring the juveniles sound bad, but scaring the juveniles out of crime is just what we need.
1 value clash. first of all my opponent provides no clear link to rehabilitation and societal welfare, he states that rehabilitation will achieve societal welfare but he provides no reason why. the one thing my opponent did say was that a rehabilitated criminal will benefit society and we need them, as I stated, society is better off without these violent criminals, we do not allow former prisoners to vote supports that we would be better without them in society. his value of rehabilitation only focuses on juveniles who committed a violent crime, therefore it will only be benefiting those juveniles rather than all of society. my value safety is best for America as a whole because the juveniles will be deterred so the crime will stop before it happens and incapacitation keeps the criminals off the streets for a longer time. my value is better for the greater amount of people and the more innocent people, therefore it is superior.
2. culpability. the juveniles have morals making them culpable of the crime they committed. my opponents evidence about how juveniles lack the ability to control impulses was already previously disproved with the fact that there is two little known about the brain to make that conclusion.
3. effectiveness of the adult court system. as I proved in my case by the support of several scholars, adult court can better deal with the violent juveniles than the juvenile system can. my opponents only attack on this was attacking evidence witch is clearly present
because these reasons, please vote Pro :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bluesteal27 5 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||7|
Reasons for voting decision: pro obviously had better arguments and i needed to offset the vote bomb of bobertmarleynoob
Vote Placed by bobertmarleynoob234 5 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||7||0|
Reasons for voting decision: i like penguins
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.