Juvenile Death Penalty

Juvenile Death Penalty






Juvenile Death Penalty

Most justice systems in the world provide for age limit below which individuals are considered juvenile and receive a different kind of ruling and consequences for a similar crime by an individual above this age. This brings with it the creation of juvenile justice system to handle such cases. With a juvenile justice system in place, minors get away with serious crimes such as murder, treason or rape which may otherwise have attracted a death penalty if the criminal was an adult. If juvenile death penalty were an option for such heinous crimes, there would be various pros and cons of imposing a death penalty for a minor. These pros and cons may build or support the thought and quest for imposition of such a ruling.

Some of the pros of imposing juvenile death penalty on delinquents include the reduction of the number of adult criminals since the minor would not grow into an adult and get involved in worse criminal activity. Another pro of juvenile death penalty is that the juvenile justice system would spend less money on the correction, rehabilitation and correction of errant juveniles. This also saves the taxpayer money, indirectly. In addition to this, and more importantly, the imposition of a death penalty on delinquents would deter other juveniles from committing any crimes or engaging in criminal activity due to the undesirable consequences.

The cons of imposing juvenile death penalty include the fact that it may be considered ethically wrong by various groups and individuals. Most of these groups and people may vote for rehabilitation against death penalty in the correction of errant minors. Another con is that minors may not understand the concept of action and consequence, and may not understand the magnitude of their action and its consequences. Imposing death penalty on a minor who is unable to make choices and decisions may be unfair. In addition to these, imposing death penalty on delinquents may not bring justice since it is more of the fault of the parent with poor parenting abilities than the child, that the child committed a crime.

Juvenile death penalty would not be a violation of the Fifth Amendment, if the case is presented before a grand jury and the jury decides that the death penalty be imposed on the delinquent. The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be held to answer for a capital crime unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, without full process of the law.


Siegel, L. J. (2014). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law. Cengage Learning.

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