Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence

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Britney, I too found that one of the main arguments discussed in Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence was that there should be a separate legal system for adolescents. This legal system would give adolescences reduced sentences, taking into account an adolescent’s impaired decision-making capacity, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the adolescent’s character (the circumstances that may result in a reduced sentence for an adult), as well as developmental immaturity (MacArthur Foundation). “ According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the brain doesn’t fully mature until the age of twenty five, several years past adolescence” (Fetterman). I also agree with you that vulnerability to peer pressure was also one of the main points discussed in the article.

The article argues that an adolescent can also be coerced to commit a crime just like an adult (MacArthur Foundation). An adolescent may feel that they will be harmed, if they don’t give into peer pressure, or they may not realize the extent of wrong, a crime that they have committed (MacArthur Foundation). Although you didn’t mention this, I also found that another main point discussed in the article was adolescents struggle to control their impulses. Instead of thinking a situation through, and planning ahead, adolescents would rather take risks, to fulfill their goals(MacArthur Foundation). This was evident in the study involving the puzzles. Instead of taking their time, and trying to plan how they would move their pieces, the adolescents simply moved their puzzle pieces, potentially having to start over (MacArthur Foundation). The article explains that the risk-taking impulse of adolescence slowly declines, as the adolescent gets older (MacArthur Foundation).

I also found that adolescents should be treated like adolescents in the legal system. Based on the information provided in the article, the adolescent doesn’t have the same control over their actions that an adult does (MacArthur Foundation). The adult’s brain has had more time to mature, they are able to control their impulses, and are less likely to given into forms of coercion, unlike adolescents (MacArthur Foundation), Because adolescents don’t have the same control over their actions that adults, they should receive a reduced sentence, and receive the education and rehabilitation that juvenile detention facilities can provide.

I also conducted research to support that adolescents should be treated like adolescents. “According to the New York Times, thirty four percent of adolescents who are sentenced as adults become repeat offenders, from the lack of rehabilitation they receive” (Daughtery 2015). As a result, those adolescents who could’ve had a fresh start, and become productive, educated members of society are now are facing more charges, because they didn’t receive the proper support. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post.

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