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So i traveled across the equator recently and while i was overseas, there was a debate about what punishments should be given to children who commit serious crimes such as manslaughter. Some believe that children shouldn't be tried and judged based on their crimes.....some people that because of their age, they can't handle "adult" penalties.....so what do you think? Ought to be an interesting debate!!

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Last Post by BestJewSinceJC
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    [QUOTE=BestJewSinceJC;1191152]If the parent hasn't committed a crime, then they cannot and should not be charged with a crime.[/QUOTE] Maybe. But in some (many?) countries the parents are the legal guardians of their offspring and legally responsible for their actions. Thus the parents can indeed (and sometimes are) charged with the … Read More

  • Jwenting: liability for damages and responsibility for criminal charges are completely different things. A parent might be liable for damages caused by a child (in certain circumstances), however, a parent is not criminally responsible for a child's actions unless they are involved in the child's actions: 1. Aiding or encouraging … Read More

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Depends on the age of the kid. Mentally handicapped adults are given leeway in some countries as it's argued that they have the mental capacity of a young child. I think that an arbitrary system based on age is difficult. Children mature at different rates and have different mental developments. What about having the kid serve a kid-sized sentence (doesn't have to be lenient) and then have the parent(s)/guardians serve the shortfall of an adult-sized sentence? Perhaps this would encourage parents to be more responsible and ensure that they didn't expose their kids to pornography, violent films, abuse and the like. Well, I can dream I suppose.

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Anyone who has ever been around a high school where there has just been a car accident that killed a bunch of high school students there will notice that they are far more stunned by the fact that someone their age can actually die than, say, a bunch of 25-year-olds will be. Generally 25-year-olds don't die, but they are fully cognizant that they CAN die and that they CAN kill someone whenever they get behind the wheel of their car. Chances are that by 25, you've known someone your age who HAS died in a car crash. Death by heart attack is still a fairly foreign concept at 25, but death itself isn't and you have a much firmer grasp of the idea of the finality of death and that actions have definite consequences because you already know a whole bunch of people who have completely screwed up their lives by that age. 16-year-olds are still in their cocoon. They probably intellectually understand that if they point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, when the person falls, they may not ever get back up. But not really. There's that wonderful sense of youthful immortality, both for themselves and the old lady whose head they smash in to get her purse.

So for crimes like manslaughter, vehicular or otherwise, or any other crime like aggravated assault (i.e. you beat someone up and they actually end up permanently injured because of it), the sentences usually are based on:

  1. Damage done to the victim.
  2. "Reckless disregard" of the consequences of your actions. You either knew or should have known that your actions could cause "grave bodily injury" and you did them anyway.

Number 1 will be the same no matter what age the offender is, but number 2 is way bigger for a 25-year-old than for a 16-year-old. 16-year-olds simply are irresponsible and don't consider consequences of their actions. It's why they can't sign contracts, it's why they can't buy booze, it's why no one gives them credit cards, it's why more and more states no longer let them drive without adult supervision.

Maybe in the old days you were expected to behave like an adult when you were 16 and maybe we should try to go back to those days, but in today's culture we don't.

On the other hand, if you're the cashier and a 16-year-old shoots you in an armed robbery or runs you over in the crosswalk, you're still dead and someone needs to pay. Frankly I'm not sure how to vote on this one.

Edited by VernonDozier: n/a

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and then have the parent(s)/guardians serve the shortfall of an adult-sized sentence?

If the parent hasn't committed a crime, then they cannot and should not be charged with a crime.

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If the parent hasn't committed a crime, then they cannot and should not be charged with a crime.

Maybe. But in some (many?) countries the parents are the legal guardians of their offspring and legally responsible for their actions.
Thus the parents can indeed (and sometimes are) charged with the crimes comitted by their children on the premise that they were negligent in not preventing those children comitting those crimes.

There's a debate here now as to whether parents of children with a foreign passport should be thrown out of the country if their children turn into repeat offenders.
Personally I hope this happens, as more often than not these parents are both fully aware of their childrens' actions and unwilling (rather than incapable) of stopping them.
Similarly, parents of any child unwilling to stop that child comitting criminal acts should be treated as an accomplice to that act even if they were not actively involved in the crime.
For first offenders that's hard to prove of course, unless maybe the child was driven to a place where he mugs and kills someone, then driven home bloodie and with bags of loot, for repeat offenders it's often a lot more clear cut.

Parents are responsible for raising their children to be law abiding citizens. If they fail through negligence or deliberate act in achieving that, they should pay the price along with their child.
If they fail to achieve that despite best effort, that's another matter entirely of course.

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Similarly, parents of any child unwilling to stop that child comitting criminal acts should be treated as an accomplice to that act even if they were not actively involved in the crime. Parents are responsible for raising their children to be law abiding citizens. If they fail through negligence or deliberate act in achieving that, they should pay the price along with their child.

Being an accomplice means actively contributing to the commission of a crime. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone is a parent. Failing at parenting through negligence is not a crime. Even if it was a crime, it is highly subjective.

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Being an accomplice means actively contributing to the commission of a crime. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone is a parent. Failing at parenting through negligence is not a crime. Even if it was a crime, it is highly subjective.

Highly subjective, perhaps. Is being a poor parent a crime? Damn right. What damage does poor parenting do to society? It is often the root cause of premeditated crimes in society. Should parents be accountable? Yes.

If my 11-year old did something atrocious, I'd front up and take responsibility for his upbringing. I'd do the time. Not being a holier-than-thou/martyr, just saying that's what I'd expect. I'm not saying my kid would get off scott free, just that there should be a sanction against the people responsible for the kid's upbringing.

Edited by diafol: n/a

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Being an accomplice means actively contributing to the commission of a crime. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone is a parent. Failing at parenting through negligence is not a crime. Even if it was a crime, it is highly subjective.

Parent are legally responsible for the acts of their children. That's written into law.
So raising your child to become a criminal through either intent or neglect is a crime, it is the exact same crime for which that kid gets arrested.

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Jwenting: liability for damages and responsibility for criminal charges are completely different things. A parent might be liable for damages caused by a child (in certain circumstances), however, a parent is not criminally responsible for a child's actions unless they are involved in the child's actions:

1. Aiding or encouraging the behavior
2. Neglect of whatever the behavior is

Even if a child shoots someone, the parent is not necessarily legally responsible. You guys are acting like if a child went and robbed someone, the parent will have to serve jail time, which is simply not how it is. In that specific example, the parent might be legally responsible for payments to the person whose property was stolen, but they are not criminally held accountable for the theft. And even if the parent is found intentionally neglectful of the behavior, they will not be charged with the child's crime, they will be charged with a lesser crime (since they aren't the one who committed the child's crime!)

Poor parenting is impossible to measure, especially legally by people who don't know the parents. And poor parenting, again, is subjective. There are plenty of examples that you would call poor parenting which are not illegal whatsoever; so you're [ardav] arguing that after the sum of those examples, if the child commits some crime, the parent should then be criminally prosecuted?

Edited by BestJewSinceJC: n/a

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1. Aiding or encouraging the behavior
2. Neglect of whatever the behavior is

Which is exactly what I was talking about...
A LOT of parents know full well that their children are engaged in criminal activity yet take no action to correct that.

The parents who see their children come home every few days with new clothes they couldn't possibly have bought from their allowance or weekend job yet don't ask where those came from are the mildest example.
Parents getting complaints from neighbours and/or police about their children acting like neighbourhood thugs and vandalising property are a major problem here.
I've personally witnessed parents telling their children to shoplift in supermarkets, to put things in their pockets but make sure noone is watching first.

And those (thought the last I've witnessed rarely, presumably because most such parents are more careful) aren't incidents, they're endemic especially in specific racial/social/national groups at least in this country.
In fact there's a strong sentiment in some groups that vandalising and thuggery if aimed at certain other groups is quite correct behaviour and is actively encouraged by parents and neighbourhoods as a whole.

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Which is exactly what I was talking about...
A LOT of parents know full well that their children are engaged in criminal activity yet take no action to correct that.

The parents who see their children come home every few days with new clothes they couldn't possibly have bought from their allowance or weekend job yet don't ask where those came from are the mildest example.
Parents getting complaints from neighbours and/or police about their children acting like neighbourhood thugs and vandalising property are a major problem here.
I've personally witnessed parents telling their children to shoplift in supermarkets, to put things in their pockets but make sure noone is watching first.

And those (thought the last I've witnessed rarely, presumably because most such parents are more careful) aren't incidents, they're endemic especially in specific racial/social/national groups at least in this country.
In fact there's a strong sentiment in some groups that vandalising and thuggery if aimed at certain other groups is quite correct behaviour and is actively encouraged by parents and neighbourhoods as a whole.

I see, I misunderstood you earlier. And I'd add that a parent who encourages a child's illegal behavior, such as stealing, should face a stiffer penalty than the child. Earlier I thought we were talking about bad parenting without some sort of "malicious intent" or willful ignorance (such as your example with seeing their kids come home with stolen items, etc).

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