Consider the following scenarios:
Peter Jones is a twenty-year-old who has just been arrested for assault as a result of a fight at a bar. It is his first criminal offense of any kind. A short time before the fight, he was hired to drive a forklift, and he really does not want to lose his current job.
Paul Smith is a sixteen-year-old who has just been arrested for assault because of his involvement in a fight at his school. It is his third violent offense, and he has already been on juvenile probation and received mandatory counseling for anger management. He is failing at school and is unlikely to graduate.
Keeping the two scenarios in mind, respond to the following questions:
Is the assumption that juveniles are especially amenable to rehabilitation because of their age and perceived openness to learning accurate? Discuss.
At what age might one be too old or too young for rehabilitation?
Do you think rehabilitation should be reserved for juvenile offenders alone? Cite research to support your answer.
Assuming neither victim was seriously injured, what penalties would you hand down to these offenders? Justify your answer.
If Smith’s victim died as a result of his injuries, why will Smith not receive the death penalty as a sanction? Include the Supreme Court’s decision in your explanation.