Sunday, 26 June 2016


                                           Standardization of penalty for juveniles ???
Really an interesting topic to debate on… Well I personally feel that juveniles should not be held to the same standards of criminal responsibility as adults because in adolescents, decision making is diminished, they are less culpable to resist coercive influence and their character is still undergoing change. Standing firm against the hypothesis/topic by laying the foundation that emerging knowledge about cognitive, psychosocial and neurobiological development in adolescents supports the conclusion that I feel about not standardizing the criminal punishment for juveniles like that of adults.

The starting point of my argument is the core principle of proportionality -> the foundation of any legitimate system of state punishment i.e. proportionality holds that fair criminal punishment is measured not only by the harm caused or threatened by the individual but also by his or her blame worthiness. Thus the question that we address is whether, and in what ways the immaturity of adolescent offenders is relevant to their blame worthiness, and in turn to appropriate punishment for their criminal acts. Well answering such a question requires a careful examination of the developmental capacities and processes that are relevant to adolescent criminal choices, as well as the conditions and circumstances that reduce culpability in the criminal law.

First and the most obviously, adolescents levels of cognitive and psychosocial developmental are likely to shape their choices, including the criminal choices, in what ways that distinguish them from adults and that may undermine competent decision making. Secondly, because in adolescents decision making capacities are immature and their autonomy constrained, they are more vulnerable than adults to the influence of coercive circumstances that mitigate culpability for all persons such as provocation or threat. Finally, because these adolescents are still in the process of forming personal identity, their criminal behavior is less likely than that of an adult to reflect bad character.

Human mind is basically divided into two parts -> the primary subconscious mind and the secondary mind or the main memory. And in adolescents this subconscious mind is much more prone to the influence as compared to mature adults. Adolescent mind is vulnerable to getting hypnotized too. Subconscious state of mind can easily be achieved in adolescents due to hormonal changes and hence most of the crimes committed by them are actually against their will and not by choice.

Just take for instance, as for privileged people like all of you reading this post, transition means from orkut to facebook to insta to twitter to finally snapchat. Just how our lives constantly revolve around showoff and fame, in a similar way for unprivileged and illiterate lives revolve around money, the biggest necessity and the most essential one. When we being the privileged ones can be easily brainwashed in the name of social networking to raising businesses, in the name of entrepreneurship to network marketing, then in a similar way these innocent teenagers are brainwashed in the name of money to committing crimes. Most of the times even they are unaware of the crime that they are involved in.

Thus typical adolescents are less culpable than adults because juvenile criminal conduct is driven by transitory influences that are constitutive of this developmental stage. And raising adolescents to the same standards of criminal punishment as that of adults is somewhat unfair what I feel. However, the alternatives like correction homes and good parenting are always the better alternatives.