Disgraceful: America's child prisoners

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Blue Velvet, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #1
    My emphasis... and by comparison: In the US, there are 2,270 prisoners who were sentenced as children to life without parole.


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2140431,00.html

    :(
     
  2. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #2
    Just read the full article and it's truly horrific that children can be locked up without any hope - and denied access to education because they'd never get to use it. The Dupure case seems particularly extreme because of the lack of physical evidence but the 70 year old who has spent 54 years in prison is almost unbelievable.

    I'm not saying that they shouldn't be punished by being locked up but surely, after some years, if they show remorse, are not a danger to the public, they're more likely to atone for their crime and give something back to society on the outside rather than in a prison cell.
     
  3. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #3
    BV - Most associate the juveniles which receive life sentences, with those committing violent acts, usually homicides. But, in this country we have a federal statute called "three strikes and you are out". So, anyone guilty of 3 federal felonies can get automatic life without parole, just for three drug charges (for example). This also applies to minors.

    Our country has lived virtually unsullied, untouched and opulently for so long, the citizens simply cannot deal with fear. Anything that appears threatening causes a knee-jerk reaction. The Office of Homeland Security and Patriot Act are two obvious examples. Our most conservative elements learned that America can be controlled by fear. That is why FOX news will spend days covering a missing teen; the message is clear - be afraid. More laws, tougher sentences, more prisons, drugs are behind all of it, etc.

    There are bad people in the world, that cannot be denied. But, they constitute a very small percentage of society. But, we have many lawbreakers. Many of them were led down that path by environment, despair, a momentary lapse of judgement, etc. But the biggest cause nowadays is due to drugs. There is a very large percentage of Americans who want to, and do use various drugs. There is a small percentage of Americans who say, you cannot. Finally, there is another large group who side with the small group, because the small group is calling the shots.

    This leads to a very large group of American who have been made criminals. Market economics makes the price to high for many to afford them, so they predate society. So, John and Alice get robbed on the way home from the movies, not because of the drug itself, but the fact that someone decided it should be illegal to have. Where did society benefit? But, I am getting off-subject...sorry.
     
  4. Brize macrumors 6502a

    Brize

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    #4
    I read that article this morning and it saddened me no end.

    The discrepancy between Blevins' and Dupure's sentences is unfathomable.
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    What's even more disgraceful is the blatant racism displayed by the nation's prosecutors, judges and juries.
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #6
    Very chilling.

    But, hey, at least I feel safe. I mean, 'cause all the bad people are locked up. Some people say that sending people to prison when they could have been rehabilitated instead is bad, but they're foolish. I mean, people who make mistakes should all just be sent away forever. Then the rest of us would be safe and life would be perfect.
     
  7. grafikat macrumors 6502a

    grafikat

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    #7
    I've known violet 16 year olds that would just as likely kill you as walk on past. The true sociopath that resorts to rape and/or murder is someone that must be dealt with on an individual basis, or by emotional age. There are 18 year olds that really aren't ready for life, let alone life in prison, and 15 year olds that are just deadly...
     
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #8
    This thread reminds me of Nathaniel Abraham, an 11 year old kid who shot and killed an 18 year old, not by accident. He was released from juvenile prison just recently and he gets a free college education.

    court tv

    detroit news


    Assuming you're being sarcastic, would you really lump those who are truely a menace to society in your generalization?
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    My suggestion before making some blanket condemnation of "the system" is to ride with the cops for a while. See what sort of people these types of laws are intended to deal with.

    Years back, I rode one night a week for some months with PD guys. We'd be driving along through an area, and there would be a steady stream of commentary about folks on the sidewalks or at houses about the numbers of arrests and the types of crimes. Truly eye-opening.

    I always remember a Texas Ranger commenting one time, "I always had my gun out when I arrested that guy. I arrested him three times for murder, but he always got off because the witnesses either disappeared or changed their story." But, hey, the arrestee had always friendly toward me...

    You catch a sociopathic murderer, age doesn't matter much. There's no such thing as remorse or rehabilitation.

    'Rat
     
  10. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #10
    What utter bilge.
     
  11. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #11
    A true sociopath, I'd agree with that statement since attempting to treat psychopaths tends to lead them to attempt to disguise their tendencies more - and since they lack empathy, remorse is going to be tough.

    But not all murderers are inveterate sociopaths particularly children. Even those who have a string of juvenile offenses are likely to have em because because they're poorly educated and/or poorly parented. Those are the ones who can be rehabilitated and are likely to feel remorse (and not just for being caught) at a later date.
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    It is a sign of the utter bankruptcy of "the system" if it cannot even attempt to deal with people humanely.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #14
    Define "age of majority", "age at which credit agreements may be entered into", "age when you may enlist". Then take your pick.
    Anyone under eighteen? Of course if you lower the voting age to 16, the definition of "child" would probably move with it.
     
  15. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #15

    Think the article does it pretty well.


    Don't you find it duplicitous that USA won't ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when your government is loudly touting the cause of human rights and freedom in support of foreign policy?

    In the UK, in recent memory, we had the Jamie Bulger case, where a two year old was killed by two ten year old boys. They were also tried in an adult court, but were not sentenced to life without parole... the case makes interesting reading in the context of this discussion.

    Anyway, this also makes interesting reading:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child#United_States_dissent

    And who are the one of the loudest cheerleaders against? Our old friend, WorldNetDaily.
    http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=21590
     
  16. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #16
    I remember the outcry when the boys were released as teenagers, the spurious chain emails that went round from Daily Mail readers which made up false details to make the crime even worse and claiming that they'd been given money to emigrate to Australia and they should have been locked up for life. Perhaps they should all move to Michigan...
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Take your pick, quite right. It's an almost completely arbitrary distinction. If someone wants to argue that our entire penal system is totally screwed up, then they won't get much of a fight from me. But to pin much significance on a 17-year-old being tried as an adult for a premeditated murder -- that's looking in all the wrong places for the problems, IMO.
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    Pinning the significance on the trial is certainly looking in the wrong place. What I find distasteful and utterly wrong is the punishment, and the refusal of parole.
     
  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Boyoboy, "child" sure varies with the views of the user.

    Yeah, there's the voting-age thing, age of majority and legal independence. Then there's some point where a person is considered old enough to be aware of consequences of decisions and actions, as a separation point between "child" and for want of a better term, "other"--old enough to know better, not yet legally an adult.

    Which of course is part of the problem with the legal aspects. Lotsa gray, from a practical and psychological standpoint, but black-and-white insofar as written law.

    Some of these kids are lost-soul street animals by age ten or twelve. No hope for them. Others, if Lady Luck favors, can come out of it.

    I've seen some edges of it; I feel fortunate not to have had to deal with it up close and personal. For those who have, it can be heart-rending. I don't see much answer in law beyond what we make-do with. Damfino...

    'Rat
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    As I say, no argument from me. I'm no expert in criminal law, but I'm certain in most states at least, a judge has to find that a child behaved as an adult in committing the crime of which they are accused, before they can be tried and sentenced as one. Otherwise, they fall under juvenile law. In principle I have no problem with this, any more than I have a problem with a court considering the actual mental and emotional capacity of a chronological adult in a trial and sentencing.
     
  21. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Many of the sociopath murderers have some sort of reactive attachment disorder. This disorder is often caused by not being able to form any sort of bond or connection with other humans. It can be caused by drug exposure in the womb or as a child, trauma as a child, neglect as a child, mental disorders, being shuntted from foster home to foster hom, or anything that prevents an infant or young child from becoming attached to other people.

    Anyone looking into adopting or fostering older children should look into this disorder with a keen interest.

    Some children with RAD can be treated and eventually form a bond with someone who is trying hard to love and provide for them. Others, no matter how hard you try to love them and help them, will never form a bond and will never be able to have empathy or sympathy towards others. I have heard of many examples of foster children with RAD that were loved dearly and provided a stable caring home with good foster parents that were never able to form a bond with anyone. They went on to cause all kinds of problems in society and ended up in "treatment" centers.

    If a child with RAD is convicted of murder and sent to prison and released on parole after a few years, there is a very good chance that they have still never bonded with anyone and will feel no remorse for their actions. There are few people who would be willing to try to create a bond with such a child and few chances for that child to ever become a normal person.

    I still think locking a criminal child up for life with no chance of parole is not the way to solve this problem, but it is a lot easier than trying to get the children help they need (even it that help will probably never be successful).

    And of course there are always the spiritual transformations that people can actually make, but since this isn't a religious post I will not delve into that aspect.
     
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #22
    In Michigan (the place where I was born!)'s defense, although it does allow for life sentences of minors, it was (and is) also the first English-speaking state in the world to ban the death penalty, more than 150 years ago....
     
  23. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #23
    Except for treason and what has "english speaking" have to do with anything,if you narrow it down far enough anywhere could be first at doing anything.
     
  24. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #24
    True, but even at large, Michigan has one of the longest surviving bans on capital punishment in the world. Which means that it isn't a totally regressive place. That's all I meant to say. :eek:
     
  25. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #25
    O.K. I do understand that, I'm a little tetchy today.:(
     

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