The youth of America are looked upon as the leaders of tomorrow. They must learn the differince between right and wrong at an early age, and that they will be punished when they step out of line. Juvenile crime has been on a steady rise for the past fifteen years, and will continue to do so unless action is taken. Thus, juvenile offenders should be punished more severely to deter other teenagers from committing crimes and for the safety of all citizens. There are too many crimes committed by youths and more severe punishments would most likely result in a major decrease in juvenile offenses.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals that between 1999 and 2000, homicides committed by youths under the age of 18 more than doubled. The cause of this sudden rise in juvenile offenses remains unknown, but the U.S. Department of Justice believes that alcohol and drugs play a major role in the lives of teenagers in our day of age. If punishments were made more severe, the use of illegal drugs and alcohol among the juvenile population who commit crimes would also decrease, as shown proven in a 1995 Annual Report on Drug's and Alcohol published by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Colombia University. .
Nearly half of juvenile offenders in long-term institutions admit being high on drugs or alcohol at the time of their offense: 56% of drug dealers, 51% of robbers, 43% of murderers and 34% of rapists. Beyond this, more than 80% of youth criminals have used illegal drugs, and the percentage of arrested or detained juveniles who tested positive for drugs increased by a third from 1997 to 1998. This sudden availability of drugs among teenagers obviously has a negative effect on their actions. By keeping juvenile drug dealers in custody, it's result would be less drug availability to other youths. This in itself would eventually cause less crimes ("1995 Annual Report: Drugs and Alcohol" The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, p.