Although many would argue for justification in sentencing, it’s tragic to see a child lose his life by a court ruling. But rather that spending so much time arguing about whether a child should be tried as an adult or sent to a juvenile program, maybe the best solution would be to prevent the argument all together. The first years of life solidify many habits, criminal behavior included, so it would seem beneficial to fund programs to bring aid to children before they even become violent.
As a matter of fact, these programs do exist and they may be more effective than the programs that intervene after a child commits delinquent behavior. The features that make these programs most effective are early intervention and comprehensiveness. According to Alina Samisky, two programs that embody these features are home visitation programs and Head Start. At first these programs determine children most prone to violence based on factors such as low intelligence, low family income, or fetal substance exposure, then intervention occur even before adolescence. Head Start in its history has enrolled 22 million children and the program has already been widely successful. The program provides children with an education, health services, parental involvement, and in general social services. The program positively impacts children’s intelligence, academic readiness, social behavior, etc. and effectively prevents delinquency. The delinquency prevention seems to be more as an extension of overall life improvement of these programs rather than special targeting of preventing delinquency.
I think that the best treatment for preventing crime has been overlooked when we focus on rehabilitation for juvenile cases. Ultimately children’s actions depend on society’s influence. Look at Lionel Tate, who killed his sister from imitating professional wrestlers. He’s described to be bright, with normal IQ, yet had an eight year history of criminal behavior by the time he was twelve. With the proper treatment he may not have committed any of these crimes. Certainly better influences can be bestowed upon these children, especially the ones who are most prone, and these programs provide these children with that opportunity. Not only does it diminish delinquency, but even more importantly it gives them a better chance at overall success in life.