Teenagers Play With Fire when it comes to the U.S. Juvenile Justice System; the Deadly Choice of Losing Precious Time Behind Bars

By Frances Gonzalez-Boyd | May 1, 2012

Whether it is the media or other negative forces thatcontinue to influence the young generation of today, it will always be a toughworld to survive in, when they decide to take the plunge and break rules andthe law. It is usually a game of losingand the consequences await for those that want to enter into a losinggame.  Teenagers today have the fate ofbeing tried in an adult court and sent to serve time in the same prisons.Controversial debates to reverse the stiff laws that some states have passed inreference to teenagers serving prison time have continued to be a concern.  According to CNN Reporter Jason Carroll inhis article; Growing Up Behind Bars; Life In Prison In Texas,  more than a hundred juveniles are serving life sentences for crimes where homicidewas not committed. The 2005 Supreme Court abolished capital punishment forjuveniles citing evidence are too immature to be punished that way. {{more}} Changesin schools have also taken place years ago with the placement of truantofficers and more security, yet it is a scary fact that administration isalmost being run by some non-cooperative parents that seem to agree with theirteenagers’ truant behavior to the point of threats to the system instead ofhelping. Their children in turn are allowed to be set free in the halls withoutreprimand.  There has also been continualcontroversy with the treatment of racial treatment of minorities, who continuebeing the Hispanic and Black race in the school and prison system. In thearticle, No-Parole Sentence Hurt Black Teens by Earl Ofari Hutchinson,AlterNet reporter, informs about disparities with the sentencing of blackteens. He states that there are a significant number of those teenagerssentenced to no-parole sentences that did not actually commit murder, but wereparticipants in a robbery or were at the scene of a crime when death occurred.The majority of the teens slapped with the draconian sentence had no priorconvictions and a substantial number were age 15 or under.  Hutchinson reports in his article dated Nov.16, 2005 that the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International count more than2000 inmates currently serving life sentence without the possibility of parolein U.S. jail. As in the case with the death penalty, the no-parole lifesentences are not race neutral. Black teens are 10 times more likely to receivea no-parole life sentence than a white youth, and more likely to receivesentences when victims are white, and are tried by all white jury or themajority white jury and those same juries seldom consider their age as amitigating factor.It is a fact that more improvements arelacking in a government that overall needs reforming. Teenage crime continues tobe problem along with many other critical issues at hand.  Slowly changes have been made with ourlegislation, but a major overhaul of weeding out bad seed still exists.