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Should teenagers go to adult prison?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,485 times Debate No: 27625
Debate Rounds (3)
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Hi guys, I would like to start by thanking my opponent for accepting, and good luck!YOU WILL NEED IT!)

Soooooo, my first point is- THEY'RE KIDS! Teen years start from age 13, and in my mind that's very young to go live in a place with barbed wire and contaminated food for a year because of peer pressure. I'm not saying that all teens go in prison because of peer pressure, but the majority of them do.

My second point is- What happens if they were actually mentally ill when they commited their crime? Then they will go to a place with guards and machine guns, and they will never get the help that they need.

My 3rd point is- What about their safety? There are lots of adults in prison who will influence them to do worse crimes, and there's the concept of bullying too.

So thanks again for accepting, and good luck! =)


I would like to return the sentiments of luck to the opponent in this debate, as from what I can tell you will need it as well.

I'm just going to jump right into this. But first lets clarify some things.
Prison vs. Jail: Jail is usually used for misdemeanors and sentences under 1 year along with those awaiting trial. Prison is for higher length sentences, usually for harder crimes as well as felonies.
Mentally Ill: Those deemed mentally ill are placed in special facilities designed for mentally ill patients who commit crimes.

1. Going to a prison (thus committing a crime warranting a sentence over 1 year) should not be considered under the language of "going to live in a place..." as they are not there by choice, they have severely restricted freedoms, and they are serving time. It is not really living it is serving out punishment for a severe crime.
2. Crimes warranting prison usually range from severe cases of assault and battery to drug possession of high amounts with intent to sell to much more severe crimes like grand theft, murder and rape. These are not crimes that a high school friend pressured them into doing, these are serious offenses that usually stem from smaller previous crimes, perhaps some that already got them sentenced to juvenile detention and/or jail.
3. I'd like to see evidence of contaminated food that you speak of. Reading articles about chow hall food, it is not the greatest tasting stuff, but it is still edible.
4. As stated above, mentally ill patients that commit crimes, especially those that commit those warranting prison time, are committed to a special facility. This is the reason that the "not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect" plea is admissible in court. It allows a defendant to plea that they were not responsible for their action due to mental illness and therefore are instead sentenced to special treatment instead. If a defendant refuses to plea to that extent then it is their own fault for getting put in the location they are put into.
5. Society has guards all over, police, security guards, military, etc. The difference is the proximity. Guards are simply authority figures that we see in society every day. A prison guard enforces rules that an inmate is subject to follow, just as police, bosses, or other authority figures enforce rules that we are to follow. The difference is the proximity, the frequency, and the strictness of the rules. As for machine guns, not all guards carry them, in fact most prisons very few guards are armed with actual firearms to prevent inmates from gaining possession of them in case of riot. Normally only guard towers and special armories within the prison have firearms.
6. As for safety, it's prison. There are officers but it is still a complex full of people that committed high level crime. If you don't want to be around them don't commit the crime.

Now, all that being said. I think that teenagers, at least above the age or 15 or 16, should be able to be sent to prison if they commit crimes that are worthy of it. I think that legally there should be lenience in some cases in regards to lighter crimes with higher sentences, like drug possession over certain amounts, but when it comes to violent crime, in which the convicted teen consciously committed a violent crime they should face the same situation anyone else that does so faces. The risk of facing that should be deterrent enough and if not then it's their fault.
Debate Round No. 1


Hi again, thanks for accepting!

So, I'm going to stick with the points that I already made, but I would like to add on some additional information:

13 year olds are teenagers. I agree with the points that you made about 15 year olds and 16 year olds going to prison, but 13 year olds and 14 year olds are a bit too young to go to prison/ jail yet, for several reasons.

- Safety- The majority of adults don't get straightened out in prison, so they will influence the kids to do worse crimes, and possibly influence others when they get out of prison.

-Maturity- The kids may be as immature as a 3 year old when they get into prison. They might have done whatever crime they committed just for the sake of having fun or trying to impress someone else.

-Health-The kids might be sharing a cell with the adults, which could lead to them getting into fights. Also, the majority of teens who get sent there die in prison because of fights with adults . To top it off, put it this way. You are a immature little 14 year old who has serious family issues that lead you to taking drugs. Now you're suddenly in a place full of barbed wire, machine guns and dusty air. Also, you're claustrophobic, trapped in a cell that's barely half the size of your bedroom, with an adult you don't want to mess with that's twice your size.

Don't you think that, chances are, you're not going to make it?

So, good luck! =)


If you are going to stick to the initial statements you already made then I shall remain by my arguments against them which you fail to provide rebuttal against.

So now that you agree with my statement on down to 15 year olds going, lets move on to the last two brackets.

First, you're now stating "prison/jail," however, the debate's topic is stated as "prison." You cannot combine the two as they are two separate concepts. One being for larger crimes one being for lighter crimes and trial and sentencing. I am not arguing for teenagers of any age to be sent to jail, I stated that already. But jail is not the issue, prison is.

Safety - If a teenager commits first degree murder, thus pre-meditated and planned out, safety or not, that child is dangerous as it is.

Maturity - I'm not sure where you're getting the statement "They may be as immature as 3 years old," if they have the mind of a 3 year old then they would be classified as a mental health patient and put in a special facility as I previously stated. That point is completely flawed. Also, crimes that involve prison sentences (1 year or more, perhaps felonies), include things like murder and rape. If you're killing and raping for fun or to impress you deserve to go to prison, no questions asked, as do those that are impressed by them.

Health - Fights happen in juvenile prison as well. What is the basis for the statement "majority of teens die because of fights with adults?" While I'm not going to deny that there is a risk, there is no basis for that claim that I see yet. If a person kills another person, or they rape someone, or they commit another violent offense, then they should be put in a place reserved for such people.

In the US, in 2010, 13,122,110 were arrested. Of these, 1,642,650 were under 18. That is roughly 12.5% under 18. Now, consider the number of under 18 arrests that are actually prison capable offenses, 422,690 and that's assuming that a sentence of that is imposed and not just those that are reduced, plead out, or dropped. That 422,690 is only 25% of the juvenile arrests. On federal only cases, which I will use this rate for simplicity sake, 85% approximately received conviction, thus dropping the number to 359,286, 21% of the juvenile and 2.7% of the national arrest rate. Now, assuming 5 years under the age of 18 that are teenage years, and due to your agreeance on 15/16 year olds I will only consider 13 and 14 year olds, however, this rate is for all those that get arrested under 18 and so I could consider down to 10 or so considering freak accidents, however, to be nice I will consider only 13-17, this now leaves 143,714 13/14 year olds convicted of prison capable crimes, 1% of the total national, 8% of the juvenile arrest rate.

So, out of all the arrests only 1% is actually fitting into this category that is being argued. Now, remove non-violent offenders that may get pleas and you're less than a single percent, and consider those that could get probation. All in all, you're looking at less than 0.3% of the arrested population in this category, and that is only 0.014% of the entire US population. Not that big of a deal if they are violent offenders anyway.
Debate Round No. 2


Heyyyyy, I said nearly half the kids die in prison, MOSTLY from fights with adults and trauma. From what you're saying it seems like you know what the few kids who've made it out alive have gone through. Well, guess what? YOU DON'T!

And also, have you ever been arrested ( Not that I have=)? When the cops throw you in jail, they won't care about WHY you've done your crime. Like you, they'll only think, Oh , what a terrible creepy and violent little creature you are. You need to go to a place where you won't hurt anyone again.

And puh-lease, don't even get me started on rehab centres. Have you ever been in one? They have people who are depressed, not people who are murderers. Maybe if anyone thought about helping the teens beforehand, they wouldn't have to go to the stage where they commit crimes!

Sorry, sometimes I just go off ranting about stuff like this. Anyways, thanks again for accepting! This was fun! :)


Muddy-Rivers forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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