“Should Juveniles Be Charged as Adults in the Criminal Justice System?” American Bar Association, www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/childrens-rights/articles/2016/should-juveniles-be-charged-as-adults/.
December 7, 2018
Narrator: Angelina grew up in a household where the environment was constantly negative. Her parents never played a positive role in her life, instead, they spent their day's gambling, arguing, and exposing her to drugs since she was a toddler. Since Angelina was only 13 when this story begins, her main priority was school. She was never a high performing student due to lack of support and resources from both her parents and the school she attended in a poor community. Angelina would attend school thinking it would keep her safe from the bad environment, only to get bullied and harassed on school grounds constantly. Angelina's surroundings caused her depression, she stopped eating regularly, and her mental health was impacted immensely. Slowly but surely she stopped caring for herself and focused on vengeance to those who made her life a living hell. This is how the story begins.
Mr.Sliva: so class, the answer to number 15 is…
Angelina: (mumbles) I think
the answer is 3 pi.
Mr.Silva: Angelina this is wrong. I expected you to know this answer... But nice shot anyway.
Angelina: Maybe next time *crouches down in seat*
Joshua: (throws book at Angelina) You are so stupid, how could you get that wrong loser.
Mr. Silva: Joshua, you need to apologize to Angelina presto!! Haven't your parents taught you ‘if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say it’?
Joshua: Sure they h…
Angelina (interrupts Joshua with slurs) Mr. Silva, it’s fine.
Narrator: It was time to go home, but not for Angelina. She spent afterschool waiting for everyone to go home, especially her bullies. She liked walking solo so she could reflect on the day. She tried to be strong but her bullying experiences always got to her. Home was not any safer, she walked home to an empty fridge and no parents. As soon as Angelina would arrive home, she would finish up homework then continue her day online by watching videos on youtube on how to stop bullying while waiting for her parents to arrive. The next school day, Mr. Silva needed to have a talk with Angelina based off of her performance in class.
Mr.Silva: Angelina what has been happening, your grades have dropped significantly.
Angelina: Teacher, I just don't understand what you are teaching and it's hard for me to grasp the concepts.
Mr: Silva: Are you positive Angelina, academics aside. I have known you over the course of a few years and have seen how your performance has changed. Is there anything you need assistance on? Anything? I am here as someone who wants to assist you.
Angelina: (pondering) I just... I feel tired most of the days but home is good and school is even better. Thank you for caring Mr.Silva. I must leave, my parents are waiting for me in the front.
*Angelina rushes home*
Narrator: Angelina had just finished telling a lie. She was presented with an opportunity to talk about her environment at home and speak on her experience of bullying and harassment at school. After pondering on her response, Angelina found herself in deep regret for not expressing her true feelings. Over the course of 2 years, Angelina's feelings of vengeance grew and she was disgusted with those who bullied her and her parents for constantly bringing her into a negative state of mind. She became gang affiliated after continuous days of walking down well-known gang filled streets and alleys. She found herself bonding with people of the wrong crowd but felt welcomed and this was rare for her which is why she chose to continue affiliating herself. Richard is introduced as Angelina's boyfriend who is also gang affiliated.
Angelina: (on phone with Richard) Hey how are you, coming to the party later, it going to be a night to remember.
Richard: I'm stuck at home for the rest of the night.
Angelina: I heard 28 street gang will be there, glad you'll be safe at home. They are on the lookout for you.
Richard: It's like I'm not safe anywhere, not even at home where my parents could care less about what's going on in my life.
Angelina: Richard it'll be okay, get some rest. I'll see you tomorrow and tell you all about the party.
Narrator: As soon as Angelina made it to the party, she encountered so many new people and even saw people she was familiar with. As she looked around, she spotted her school bullies and she paused.
She thought about vengeance once again and this time, she wanted to take action.
Angelina: Hey Joshua, how have you been! I haven't seen you since freshman year. So much has changed. You remember me right?
Joshua: Totally! Mr.Silva’s class, but I've been good, junior year is almost over and I'm ready to end this year solid.
Narrator: Joshua sure did remember Angelina and especially all the times he would physically bully and harass her. However he did not think Angelina would recall, so he continued his conversation with her acting as if they were meeting for the first time, but Angelina had different plans.
Angelina: Yeah dude! This party is great, I've met so many new people and everyone is having a great time *awkward silence* by the way, I forgive you for all the harm you did in past years. We were just kids and I know you and your whole crew were just trying to fit in. I forgive you... In case you were thinking about it.
Joshua: Yeah that was funny kid stuff. I see my friends over there so I'll catch you later!
Angelina: Hey before you go, we should exchange numbers just in case we ever want to hang out! You can bring your crew too.
Joshua: Alright my number is 310)123-4567, text me anytime. Have fun with the rest of the party.
Narrator: Angelina did not actually want anything to do with Joshua nor did she forgive him for making her childhood a living hell. In fact, she exchanged numbers to start some risky business.
Narrator: As the sun rises the next day, Angelina made plans with Richard to spend the day together. She planned to tell him what happened last night and exactly where she wanted to go with the information she received. Richard and Angelina meet at the park.
Angelina: Hey, I missed you! Guess who I saw yesterday.
Richard: Hmmm. No clue, just tell me.
Angelina: Remember those people I told you about a while ago? Joshua and his crew?
Richard: Yes those lame guys who made your high school experience horrible. Did you ignore them? Did they do anything to you?
Angelina: I decided to approach Joshua, he did not show any guilt and never told me sorry even after I told him that I forgave him for what went on years ago. Can you believe that?
Richard: (stares to Angelina trying to understand)
Angelina: Anyways, no time to get sad, I got his number and I want to make plans with him.
Richard: Excuse m...
Angelina:(cuts off Richard mid-word) In a way where I can show him why he should be sorry. He will wish he never did me wrong.
Richard: You know me, the whole gang can get together and we all just jump him right quick. You tell me what you need me to do and I'm there. The gang is your family and nobody messes with our crew, you know how we get down around here Ang.
Narrator: Richard had included himself into Angelina's unfinished plan. Maybe Angelina was influenced by her surroundings because she found love in the gang who welcomed her more than any parent or student could. Or maybe she was passionate about associating herself with these people. Whatever it was, Angelina was soon to complete her risky business.
Narrator: 3 days have passed and Angelina finally texted Joshua. They planned to meet in a park on the end of Oak Street at approximately 5 pm right when the sun went down. Richard would be there too, except he would be hidden so right when to sun went down him and Angelina could finish what they started.
Angelina: Richard, you can hand me the gun. He will be here soon. All you need to do is give me the gun.
Richard:*hands Angelina gun* Alright, I'll wait in the car and as soon as you finish your business, run. You need to bring the gun back with you so that there is no traceback evidence.
Angelina: *fixes gun in clothing* Okay, now I just need you to leave. I got this from here.
Richard: Stay safe.
*As soon as Joshua arrives, he smiles and takes a seat on the bench. Angelina pulls the gun out of her clothing and points the gun to his head. She pulls the trigger*
*Screen fades to black*
Narrator: This is where the story came to an end for Angelina.
Within 2 hours of the shooting, police came knocking on Angelina's door. She was placed in handcuffs later to be sentenced life without parole in court. Angelina’s parents were never there to teach her right and wrong and the school never presented lessons or provided resources for her to get the correct help or support that she needed as a teen. The judge who sentenced her never took into account the poor environment she grew up in or any of the reasoning behind her actions. The judge sentenced an adolescent to life so freely when there was more to the side of the story to be explored and evaluated.
Approximately 100 years ago, there was a separation established in how adults and children were sentenced in court and there were no laws that showed the distinction of adolescents and adults in the criminal justice system(Scialabba, 2016). There was a change to be made in how youth and adults were being approached in the criminal justice system such as children and adults being sentenced in court based off of different factors.
There are several factors in why an adolescent can be led into the juvenile justice system. In the PSA script, we are presented with an unhealthy home environment, bullying, and gang affiliation being some of the leading factors that caused Angelina life without parole. Almost ninety-five percent of youth in the system have been exposed to child abuse, violence in surrounding environments, and serious illnesses(Baglivio, 2015). When statistics show the massive amount of adolescents who have been victims of unsafe communities and unhealthy environments and relationships, there is more clarity and reasoning as to why they would be placed into the system. It is also said that bullies cause fear into their victims causing school absences, carrying weapons, and result in more acts of violence (New York State Police, 2001). When Angelina was a victim of bullying and harassment in the script, she might not have missed school but instead, she built a feeling of disgust and need for revenge over time, resulting in murder.
Angelina never had a healthy parent figure to teach her right from wrong or resources in her school and surrounding community as to how to grow from unhealthy situations yet she was sentenced life based off of one side of the story. Sometimes help may be offered to at-risk youth, in fact, at-risk youth would benefit from stable and supportive relationships. This would create a feeling of trust and an opportunity for at-risk youth to express feelings when these relationships are created. The adult will have a platform to better help and understand the child (Elias, 2009). In the script, we are presented with Mr.Silva who was trying to help Angelina based off of genuine concern and care rather than a teacher role. If Angelina would have accepted the help, maybe the ending would have been different.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from abuse,addiction,violence, or abandonment, please call 800-448-3000 and help will be a phone call away.
Baglivio, Michael T., and Nathan Epps. “The Interrelatedness of Adverse Childhood Experiences Among High-Risk Juvenile Offenders.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, vol. 14, no. 3, July 2015, pp. 179–198
Elias, Maurice J. “The Four Keys to Helping At-Risk Kids.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2009, www.edutopia.org/strategies-help-at-risk-students.
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2001. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/9747.
“New York State Police.” Crime Prevention: Bullies A Serious Problem for Kids, troopers.ny.gov/Crime_Prevention/Conflict_Resolution/Bullies/.Dec. 12, 2018, 9:35 p.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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