If you haven’t watched the documentary Kids For Cash, please do. I am obsessed with our legal and prison systems because it tells what kind of people we are in how we mete out justice. Another good one is Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss. A haunting indictment of how we perceive ourselves. We as a society demand justice and justice comes in the form of prison, jail, death, and rarely reform, because punishment should not be rehabilitative, even if these very people are to be released into our midst in the future. Who are we to be judge, jury and excecutioner, but more importantly, who does this system benefit? I especially abhor the treatment of children and how we escalate their judgement equivalent to that of an adult’s. For what purpose does this serve other than to make us feel superior?
Recently, I’ve heard of kids being tried as adults in the news such as the 2 12-year-old girls from Wisconsin in the ‘Slender Man’ attempted murder and recently, a 14-year old girl, who slit the throat of her brother’s girlfriend. I condemn their actions and they should be punished and treated for their crimes, but to be tried as adults is an affront to everything we should stand for. What we should stand for is justice, but what justice is there in treating kids like adults? If these girls were to be raped by someone, the perpetrators would be tried as someone who raped a minor, but do they lose their minor status when they also commit a crime? How can they be a minor in one situation and not in another? That is not justice but cherry picking of a justice system that favors severe prison sentences for all.
Why do we even have minor statuses if we do not follow them in every case? You are a minor as long as you don’t commit a crime. Because hey, you should’ve known better, like an adult, to not commit crimes, and as such, you will be punished as one. Does that make any sense? Who is benefiting from this thinking? Are we as a society more protected? Or do we just feel better about ourselves when we have the power to change the rules to suit how we feel? There are plenty of laws that were enacted to make us feel better, but didn’t quit work out such as the Three Strikes Law, which resulted in some people serving lengthy sentences for non-violent crimes while others served shorter terms for one specific violent crime. Perhaps we should stop enforcing laws and rules based of how we feel and how they actually affect society as a whole.