Adult Punishment and Juvenile Justice Day after day in this country there is a debate going on about the death penalty and whether we as people have the right to decide the fate of another person's life. When we examine this issue we usually consider those we are arguing about to be older men and women who are more than likely hardened criminals with rap sheets longer than the height we stand (Farley & Willwerth, 1998). They have made a career of crime, committing it rather than studying it, and somewhere along the line a jury of their peers decided enough was enough. They were handed down the most severe and most final punishment of them all, death. Behind all of the controversy that this issue rises lays a different group of people that are not so often brought into the lime light, juveniles. This proposes a problem entangled with another; if we do decide to carry out death sentences, what is the minimum age limit? Can we electrocute, lethally inject, or gas any one who commits a crime that is considered capital? In this paper the issue of capital punishment for juveniles will be discussed, basically laying out a comprehensive look at the matter. First we will briefly look at the history of both juvenile justice and the history of the death penalty in regards to juveniles. Secondly we will take a short look at the two major court cases that dealt with this issue in the United States. Next this paper will present the factual statistics of the death penalty for juveniles and also take a look at our country's stance on the issue in the international arena. We will then spend a short time looking at some views on the juvenile death penalty, reasons for the death penalty itself, and the arguments for and against the death penalty for juveniles. Lastly we will conclude with a few thoughts about the issue and the implications that we might have to consider. .
The history of the death penalty being imposed on juveniles spans all the way back to almost the beginning of our country.