1 May 2014
Engl 1301 M09
Final Exam Essay
Teenagers Receiving the Death Penalty
One of the most controversial question in our society today is “Should teenagers be condemned to the death penalty for a horrendous crime?” In the United States 19 states permit the death penalty, and since of 1973, 226 juveniles have been sentenced to death. Since then, 20 have already been put to death and 82 of them remain on death row. With their undeveloped and immature minds, the effects of being neglected and abused, and international opinions, teenagers should not be punished receiving the death penalty.
Though teens should be held accountable for their actions their brains are still undeveloped and immature. As their brain is still developing “teenagers decision making capability is immature, impulsive, could be influenced by peer pressure, and lack the ability to realize the long and short term consequences for their actions” (“Should Juveniles Receive”). Studies show that the last part of the brain to develop is the frontal lobe located in front of the brain, which is responsible for controlling impulses and making decision (“Should Juveniles Receive”). This part of the brain is finished developing between the ages of 18 and 22. Because of the teens psychological imbalances it is cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a teen to death.
Many of these teenagers have gone through many difficulties in their life causing them to make actions that they normally would not. Other studies show that “60 percent of teenagers who have been sentenced to death were neglected or abused growing up” (“Juvenile Death Penalty”). Teenagers who were neglected or abused growing up created aggressive behavior. Growing up in conditions that effect a child’s emotional and physical growth convinces them to think that violence is acceptable, and can slow down the rate at which the child matures. These teens also carry similar cognitive functions to those of the mentally retarded because of their abusive childhood. For that reason, it is unjust to hold these teenagers completely at fault.
The execution of minors violates international treaties which know that civilization should not have the right to execute people with immature logic of the consequences of their actions, and is considered anachronistic, inhumane, and in conflict with central values of justice. The execution of young offenders has been banned by The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In the past decade the United States has executed more