Saturday, September 19, 2015

Disparate Treatment of Juveniles

I've shared my thoughts on juvenile justice in the past (here, here and here, especially). Today's Star Tribune gave us this news on a recent case in Minnesota:

This is a kid who had a storage locker full of guns, ammunition, and explosives all set to be turned loose on his high school. He was only stopped because someone saw him trespassing on his way to the storage locker and called the police, who found him in the storage space with his stuff, where he immediately confessed.

I think his probation and treatment are probably the right outcome of his case, but what if he had actually used the guns and bombs, as he clearly intended? Does anyone think this would be the outcome?

And I can't help noting that this is a white kid in a largely white community. Many other teens are tried as adults throughout this country, especially teens of color. Though being white hasn't helped the two preteen girls in Wisconsin who are being tried as adults for attempted murder of their friend. Their reasons? They were trying to impress an imaginary character. Does that motivation really sound like it could fit a competent adult?

I'm glad Minnesota justice could be merciful and fitting for the Waseca boy, but we have a long way to go in this country before we reach Bryan Stephenson's goal of Just Mercy.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I was actually surprised by the Waseca outcome. I had expected some prison time simply because he had intended to use the guns and explosives to kill, and he had a plan even if it wasn't carried out. It's appropriate that he should receive treatment, however. Perhaps that can prevent him from possibly doing violence against people in the future.