Juvenile Justice System: Just or Unjust  

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Children are children until they commit crime against society. Most people are against trying children as adults because it is unjust. Juveniles are minors with undeveloped brains and need help to steer onto a path that will better their future. While others believe children should be tried as adults. Most believe juveniles should understand right from wrong and should be punished for their crimes. This issue is a disagreement between one another without considering both sides before making a final conclusion which will satisfy both sides. Regarding Juvenile Justice issues, those against trying juveniles as adults use deliberative rhetoric while those who are supporting juveniles be tried as adults use forensic rhetoric.

Those who are supportive of trying juveniles as adults instead of minors are going to focus on forensic rhetoric. The writer is going to evoke emotion by placing blame and using pathos. By using forensic rhetoric the writer only focuses on the past which will affect the author to lose credibility. The writer of “On Punishment and Teen Killers,” Jenifer Jenkins, mentions her sister was killed by a teenager.

She expresses her sisters’ emotional state when she claims, “When a teenager murdered her and her husband in 1990 in suburban Chicago, she was pregnant with their first child. She begged for the life of her unborn child as he shot her”(Jenkins 49). The author’s goal is to evoke emotion in the reader, and she does this by mentioning a pregnant woman being murdered.

The statement, “begged for her unborn child as he shot her,” this alone creates an image of a woman crying out and pleading for help. Jenkins captures the audience’s attention with pathos and storytelling alone because the opening sentence leaves an impression on the reader’s heart. This piece of the article is persuasive because of the emotions behind the killing of the soon to be mother and her husband. Jenkins continues to place the blame on the society as a whole, when she claims, “We in America have to own this particular problem, with weapons so easily available to our youth, and the culture in which we raise them …” (Jenkins 49).

The author is using forensic rhetoric by blaming the society, which causes people to feel guilty. The quote above focuses on trying to make people in society feel guilty for their actions by allowing their children to spend too much time playing violent games and videos because it is a possibility the parents are neglecting their children.

In addition, the author seems to focus on forensic rhetoric,which only deals with past events and focuses on blaming one another rather than looking for a solution. This causes the writing to lose credibility because the view point is focused on blaming the teenager, “He did not act on impulse or because of peer pressure. He was not mentally disable- in fact was quite intelligent” (Jenkins 49). By focusing on forensic rhetoric, the author begins to lose credibility because the author’s writing is focusing on only one perspective and it takes a stand on one side of the issue only.

Logos rhetoric is a strong tool that authors use to convey logical thought and analysis through the use of statistical and data. Jenkins presents logos when she states, “If brain development were the reason, then teens would kill at roughly the same rates all over the world” (Jenkins 49). The quote above is using logos to make the author’s point valid if teens are beginning to mudurer and kill, then teens will be on the news all over the world as violent killers.

When trying to persuade the reader and/or audience the authors focus on forensic rhetoric when trying to evoke emotion from the crowd. The author Marjie Lundstrom of “Kid are Kids- Until They Commit Crimes” ,the goal is to convince the audience that children are dangerous. The author Lundstrom refers to juveniles as a threat in society when she mentions, “This warped vision of America’s youth was given an unfortunate boost with the recent arrest of two seemingly “good kids” in the brutal slayings of two Dartmouth College professors”( Lundstrom 46).

The author is focusing on minors who seem like good kids but cause trouble in society. The audience who are teachers themselves may sympathize with the college professor who recently died. By focusing on blame helps the author persuade the audience, in convincing them that juveniles are dangerous and out of control.

Juveniles are tried at a young age for their crime, for example, “ Lionel Tate-who was twelve when he savagely beat to death a six-year-old girl- … was imitating his World Wrestling Federation heros when he pummeled his playmate…” (Lundstrom 45). The author is able to use pathos to their advantage, once they mantion the little girl being likked by someone who is older than herself. By making this claim the author is able to prove their point of juveniles being dangerous because of the crime they committed and convince the audience.

By focusing on logos and pathos rhetoric helps the author, Lunderstrom convince her audience and use her data to her advantage to make a convincing proposal; which is having juvenile revise their sentence without parole. The author claims that, “ … politicians and prosecutor press for hard-line stands against youthful offenders-nearly every state has moved to make it easier to charge kids as adult-juvenile crime is way down” (Lundstrom 46).

As a result of charging juveniles as adults lead to a decrease in crime. The author uses logos to persuade the audience logicly by claiming the imprisonment of juveniles leads to a change in crime rate. The author does use pathos to convince the audience emotionally but logos as well to logicly convince the audience by using data gathered throughout the year.

Lundstrom mentions the change of muder rates after the imprisonment of juveniles which, “… fell 68 perccent from 1993 to 1999, hitting its lowest level since 1996, according to the Justice Department. The juvenile arrest rate for violent crime overall fell 36 percent from 1994 to 1999” (Lundstrom 46). The author uses logos to reach her goal of having juveniles be sentenced without parole. By imprisoned juveniles the death rates have gone down drastically and make a difference in society which helps persuade the audience.

Deliberative rhetoric and logic is constantly being referred to in the article, “Startling Find on Teenage Brains,” by Paul Thompson. He focuses on making a change for juveniles in hopes of a better future. Logic is shown to convince and persuade the audience that there is a difference in a childs’ mind compared to the mind of an adult. The article suggests a change and strives for a change in the juvenile justice system. The young boy Nathanial Brazill is being charged for second degree murder in attempt of killing his middle-school teacher.

The court did not try Brazill as an adult because his, “immaturity was evident throughout the incident … his subsequent inability to give a reason for doing so, to the various quizzical looks that came across his face as the verdicts were read” (Thompson 47). The court uses logic to make the best possible choice to sentence the juvenile.

The author uses this quote to his advantage because he focuses on this quote to prove his point that juveniles are not mature enough to serve a life sentence without parole. Research conducted by Thompson at the University of California, Los Angeles, claims, “our thinking and emotions, is purged at a rate of 1 percent to 2 percent a year… their frontal lobes, which inhibit our violent passion, rach actions, and regulate our emotion, are vastly immature through the teenage years” (Thompson 47).

By adding data gathered through research, it helps the author’s credibility as well as his logos rhetoric. Thompson’s data research helps the readers understand the difference between a teenager’s brain compared to when they become mature adults.

Thompson’s focus on logic and deliberative rhetoric which focuses on moving forward into the future with hope of helping teens move onto the right path but does not recognize the other side of the argument since he claims, “brain-tissues loss can help us to understand teens better… it can be used as evidence that teenagers are not yet adults, and the legal system shouldn’t treat them as such” (Thompson 48). The author’s argument is using logic to make his claims and persuade the audience using his facts and research. This quote is a combination of pathos and logos of because the values and disinterest being shown. The authors goal in convincing the audience that juveniles are not adults but still maturing by presenting evidence found in the research.

The author does include pathos when he mentions, “ Given this delicate – and drastic – reshaping of the brain, teens need all the help they can get to steer their development onto the right path” (Thompson 48). This last statement is an example of pathos and deliberative rhetoric. The emotion behind this statement is almost like a cry for help and to acknowledge the juvenile’s pains. The author uses deliberative rhetoric to look into the future and prevent juveniles from making terrible choices before it is too late.

Gail Garinger, the author of “Juveniles Don’t Deserve Life Sentence” focuses on deliberative rhetoric, logos and practical wisdom to persuade her audience. The article is credible because of the sources within the writing but there are not many pathos or emotions embedded into the authors writing. The author claims that juveniles in previous caeses are free from the death penalty and such actions because, “Young people are biologically different from adults.

Brain imaging studies reveal that regions of the adolescents brain responsible for controlling thoughts, actions and emotions are not fully developed. They cannot be held to the same standards when they commit terrible wrongs” (Garinger 1). The author uses data gathered from previous testing to prove her point and persuade the audience by convincing them that juveniles are different from adults because of the brain scans recorded in recent research. By using logos the audience will more likely sympathize with the juveniles and will be willing to help in the near future.

In the article, Garinger claims, “the Supreme Court recognized that even in the most serious murder cases, ‘Juveniles offenders cannot with reliability be classified among the worst offenders’ ”(Garinger 1 and 2). By mentioning the Supreme Court in one’s writing it adds to the author’s credibility because the court is an important role in deciding the fate of the juveniles life. The Supreme Court’s importance is grand to most people so it is seen as a credible source.

Furthermore, Garinger uses logos when she states, “An overwhelming majority of young offenders grow out of crime… to predict which youngsters will fall within that majority and grow up to be productive, law-abiding citizens and which will fall into the small that minority continues to commit crime”. The author is using deliberative rhetoric with the quote above because it reflects the future of most juveniles.

This hope, the author offers to the audience, offers the audience the possibility of improving the life of a juvenile by making it a goal to ensure juveniles receive a life sentence with the option of being paroled. Garinger is focused on leading juveniles into a new light and offers a better path when she mentions, “the court has previously recognized that children should not be condemned to die in prison without parole being given a ‘meaningful opportunity to obtain releases based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation’ ”.

To lessen the amount of juveniles being tried in court as adults, the author’s purpose is to offer help. The author is using deliberative rhetoric which helps focus on the juveniles future. By focusing on the future, the author stays away from forensic rhetoric which causes both sides to fight instead of coming to an agreement.

By using different tools to pick apart the author’s writing helps determine how persuasive they are to the audience. Those who are against juveniles with porale focus on forensic rhetoric and place the blame on the juveniles for committing muder and being out of control. Those who are in favor of helping minors receive parole with their sentence and helping them reshape their lives for a better future are focused on deliberative rhetoric and keep looking towards the future. Both sides are persuasive but are not taking each other’s sides into consideration.


Cite this paper

Juvenile Justice System: Just or Unjust  . (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/juvenile-justice-system-just-or-unjust/

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