It has already been mentioned that adult facilities are not equipped to give children offenders what they need for rehabilitation. The case of a 16-year-old Seattle boy demonstrates what a juvenile institution can do for a child that is normally not available for adults. The Seattle boy was accused of pinning a girl down in an Auburn Group Home and trying to have sex with her, along with charges that he grabbed two other girls. He has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior towards numerous classmates and relatives. King County prosecutors agreed to stop their efforts to have the boy locked away as the state’s youngest “sexually violent predator” if he worked his way through an intensive treatment program. The boy’s attorney, Susan Craighead, said that she is still dismayed that prosecutor’s opted to file a sex predator petition against the child. “But I think this is a fair resolution that will give this child very sophisticated counseling, as well as a chance to live in freedom.” Prosecutors have said his sexually aggressive; “out of control” behavior makes him dangerous.
The boy’s attorneys agree he needs treatment, but they have always protested the effort to put him in a class of repeat rapists and pedophiles (Johnson, 1-2).
Critics may argue that “slaps on the wrist” have been commonplace in today’s society. White-collar criminals and even murderers come away from the courts looking as if they’ve gotten away with something. This argument for trying children as adults fall in the same realm of the previous argument of “sending a message.” If convicted offenders get off easy, then a powerful deterrent to crime has been voided. Also, critics point out that many juvenile correctional facilities have poorly developed or non-existent special-education programs. (Leon, 12)
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