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View Diary: CHILDREN Sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON (135 comments)

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  •  Hmmm... (none)
    Are you saying the age of consent should be eighteen?  I don't agree with that.  I'm sorry that you were treated awfully by older men as a teenager; but of course this happens to eighteen year olds too, no?  What's the line between treating someone abominably and committing a crime?  That's a tough one.

    I also don't agree with letting anyone (at least, anyone old enough to know what they are doing: say, over ten) ever be free on the streets again if they have killed someone.  That doesn't mean they should spend their lives at hard labour; maybe with good behaviour they could be transferred to a facility with the comforts of home.  But I don't believe the families of victims should ever have to see the killer of their loved ones out on the street again.

    (I am against capital punishment, btw, just to be clear.)

    -Alan

    •  Dunno. (none)
      Some days I think it should be 25.

      I don't know WHAT I'm saying -- except I don't think a, say, 13 year old who commits murder should automatically be locked away for the rest of his natural born LIFE. It's absurd. And the ESSENCE of "cruel and unusual."

      Man, my personality and beliefs change from one decade to the next -- how on EARTH can we justify locking away a child on the very CUSP of adolescence... FOREVER?

      Just can't deal with that thought.

      •  (hopefully not totally incoherent) ramblings (none)
        Some days I think it should be 25.

        Well, it's interesting: there's an argument that could be made for something approaching that, anyway.  Last semester I took a course called Adolescent Psychology, and was surprised to learn that the contemporary view of adolescence is that it is divided into three stages, and the last spans ages 18-22.  So that means that pretty much all college kids (who we even call "kids", notice) are still adolescents, and indeed I do notice a LOT of difference in the maturity level of, say, a fifth year senior compared to a freshman or even a junior.

        But on the other hand, I'm a believer in evolutionary psychology.  And it's hard for me to think we're meant to have this working equipment, and the desire to use it, and be artificially prevented from doing so for a decade!  

        I think to some degree or another, in our contemporary society most women go through some point where they are "taken advantage of", and they suffer some kind of psychological trauma as a result.  That definitely sucks, I can't deny that.  Hell, I've got a two year old daughter, and it of course pains me to imagine her being on the receiving end of that treatment someday (and it pains me, for that matter, to think lots of women I care about have had to go through it).

        But if I step back a minute and think about it rationally, I'm tempted to say this is one of those things that's "part of life".  (I'm not of course talking about actual rape here, just to be clear.)  So though it's painful, it's also a learning experience and a component of building an adult perspective on the world.  KWIM?  (Or maybe not--you might well respond to this suggestion with "fuck that noise!")

        Oh, wait, got off on a tangent there and almost forgot about the original issue of life imprisonment.  Let me say a few more things here, including some clarification:

        (1) No doubt, as you have suggested, a lot of these kids have been railroaded.  That sucks completely and must be addressed if we are to have anything approaching actual justice in our justice system.

        (2) Those who were guilty of being accessories, but didn't actually commit the murder, shouldn't get life sentences.  (If they held someone down so their friend could slash the victim's throat, though, that's helping to actually commit the murder in my view.)

        (3) You're right, people's personalities and beliefs change from decade to decade.  But what doesn't change is that their victim is dead.  Someone kills my kids, and then later truly becomes a better person, bully for them.  But my kids are still dead.  

        Look, people make stupid mistakes, or do bad things, that cost them their own lives, and they don't get a "do over".  If their decisions cost an innocent person's life, I think it's irrelevent whether they reform themselves.  They still shouldn't get to come back and walk the streets free when their victims will never get that chance.  They ended someone's life who didn't deserve it--how can it be said they are the real victims if as a result they have to spend their lives incarcerated?  

        Remember, I said I'd be open to their "graduating" (after some period of time of good behaviour) to a facility that could be more like a dormitory than a prison.  They could watch DVDs there, have visitors sleep over, even have wild parties for all I care--just as long as when their guests leave, they don't get to, meaning (a) their victims' loved ones never have to see them, assuming they don't visit the incarceration facility; and (b) just in case they haven't changed as much as we hope, they definitely don't get a chance to kill anyone else on the outside.

        -Alan

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