Describing several violent crimes by teenagers, the Cincinnati Enquirer says that the suspects acted like adults when they committed their crimes, and the courts treated them that way: They all went to adult prison. Cincinnati’s Hamilton County sends more youths to adult courts than any county in Ohio. That is the result of actions by a tough, law-and-order, conservative prosecutor backed by equally conservative judges who do not agree with those who argue that prison only turns teens into hardened, more violent criminals.
From 2003 to 2007, the number of youths Hamilton County tried in adult court increased 46 percent, jumping from 48 in 2003 to 70. Statewide, the number increased just 7 percent. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in December that adult sentences for teens don’t make streets safer. Researchers found that teens put into the adult system are 34 percent more likely to commit another crime than teens kept in the juvenile system. Their recommendation: Keep kids in the juvenile system. Terry Weber, a public defender for juveniles, says adult prisoners find kids easy targets to attack and molest. Said County Prosecutor Joe Deters: “When there’s no other alternative and you have a walking crime spree, they have to be bound over. The only thing left to do is warehouse them. I am all for saving savable kids, but when you commit some crimes, I consider you unsavable.”