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Should Youth Under Age 18
        Be Tried as Adults in Criminal Court?
Musée D'Orsay, Paris, France. J. B. Carpeaux: Le prince impérial et son chien - 1865. Photo credit Susan Kramer.
Susan Kramer
from a spiritual point of view

© 2002-2011 Susan Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
published by Creations in Consciousness

What is the legal age to vote? 18.

What is the legal age to enlist in the military? 18.

What is the legal age to buy alcohol? 18.

The legal age for these hallmarks signaling entry into adulthood is 18 years. Yet, when a youth not yet an adult commits a capital crime, in some court systems the youth is tried and sentenced as an adult.

If society does not recognize one as an adult until age 18 for voting, serving in the military, and buying alcohol, why do youths not yet of legal adult age suddenly become as responsible as an adult when they commit a crime?

A person is denied adult privileges till age 18 on the grounds that that is the earliest date of physical, mental, emotional, and social maturity; the earliest time that dependable sound judgements can be made.

Does it make sense to treat a person under age 18 as an adult in some situations, and not in others?

Spiritually, standing aside and looking at an entire life span, we see the earliest time as a period of physical, mental, emotional, and social growth. In adulthood, deemed by society to be 18 years at the earliest, the person has grown enough to live independently using all aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and social maturity.

During adulthood, family and career grow from the deep roots developed before age 18. And, as time goes on and opportunities for showing love increase through caring for family and/or community, the human evolves spiritually into his greatest potential.

Spiritually, we each have the responsibility in adulthood to care for and protect the youth of our individual families, and as a society, all youth.

Let us not judge youth in their immaturity with the same weight and criteria in the area of criminality that we use to treat adults.

Society has already determined that under age 18, one's physical, mental, emotional, and social growth is still in the formative stage; not yet fully mature.
Bio Sketch
Stan Schaap and Susan Kramer
Susan Kramer, M.A., M.Div. is an international author of more than 50 collections and 150 articles on rhythmic dance, music, philosophy, yoga, social issues and practical spirituality for children, teens, adults and those challenged, with some translations in Dutch, French, German and Spanish, and with her husband, Stan Schaap- resides in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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photo at top of page:
J. B. Carpeaux
Le prince impérial et son chien - 1865
Musée D'Orsay, Paris, France
photo credit Susan Kramer

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