When Children Kill, America Often Is At A Loss


University of Pennsylvania law professor Anita Allen comments on The Daily Beast website about the prospects of imprisonment for Jordan Brown, the 11-year-old Pennsylvania boy who shot and killed his father’s pregnant fiancé. She writes, “Though sending an 11-year-old to live with rapists, bank robbers, and murderers might seem crazy, it happens, simply because America has no real system in place to deal with children accused of murder.

“Children kill, and when they do, they're often charged as adults and sent to adult prisons to fend for themselves…The paradox of this issue is that child murderers are uncommon enough that little effort has gone into developing a mechanism for dealing with them. The homicide rate for US children under the age of 14 increased in the late '80s and '90s, but then fell to its lowest recorded levels after 2003…One thing is clear: An 11-year-old does not, under any circumstances, belong in an adult prison among the tough guys one sees on cable lock-up shows.”

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