Several states are revising the juvenile sentencing policies in light of research on the impact of incarceration and on brain formation and function. Will Idaho step up and inject rationality into its sentencing policies?
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Based on the research, every state should evaluate its sentencing policies regarding sentencing of juveniles. In addition, prosecutors should immediately halt the practice of treating juveniles as adults until legislatures revise sentencing policies state-wide. The media should also refrain from treating juveniles as adults when reporting information about juvenile offenders. There is no legitimate penal or journalistic goal served by this regressive practice.
Ada and Canyon Counties (Idaho)have recently experienced two high-profile cases involving violent juvenile crime. The victims, the defendants, and society would be better served if the prosecutors in both of these cases would stop the quest to treat the defendants as adults, and instead seek a resolution that includes treatment and proper monitoring. Punishing juveniles for the sake of punishment alone is an abuse of power that is also extracting a high financial cost and is likely to raise the probability of future offending.