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Give youth offenders 2nd chance

Published: Tue, July 15, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: America’s experiment with harsh punishment for nonviolent offenders has proved to be self-defeating. Rather than lessening crime, these policies promote recidivism when nonviolent offenders are unable to find employment, fall into poverty and return to crime.

A bill co-sponsored by two unlikely political allies, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., would right some wrongs in the law. The legislation would incentivize states to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 by offering preferential treatment on certain federal grants; automatically expunge and seal the records of nonviolent juvenile offenders; and nearly eliminate the practice of placing juveniles in solitary confinement.

There’s no reason that the follies of youth should follow nonviolent teens into their adult lives and blackball them from employment. These are not hardened criminals. The very reason that courts differentiate between adults and juveniles is the belief that young people have a high chance of rehabilitation and re-entry into society.


1steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

This is precisely the type of backwards thinking and rationalization that leads to more and more crime. Instead of worrying about where they are going to find employment when they get out, we should keep them imprisoned for longer and longer periods of time. By the time they reach 18 years old, they are killing people.

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2redeye1(5615 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

If these kids feel that they are going get a slap on the wrist the first time they do something illegal. Then they will do it again as polish offenders. , knowing that the justice system has gone easy

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3tnmartin(518 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

this sort of idiocy is how you end up with someone 30 years old with 4 or 5 felony CONVICTIONS, and we're not talking for jaywalking stuff. I can agree that everyone may deserve a second change. But 9 or 10? And don't forget damage to the overall society, now you see why large scale drug dealers use minors as mules. Some of those "minors" have two or more kids already.

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