Hard Time

Dec 1, 2015

Prison is a place for the bad guys right? Only really bad people go there. If they're in prison that’s where they belong. It’s what they deserve. Bad men and women go to prison and bad teens and kids go to a juvy. It’s a simple or it’s simpler to think that way. Those that are eighteen years and younger and have committed a crime are sent to Juvenile detention. If that is the case why are some children being sent to prison? Why have some children been executed? If everyone deserves a fair trial why do we have so many unfair or unequal trials.

What if I told you that not everyone in prison is bad or heartless. Shocking isn't it. What if I also told you that children are being sent to prison. yeah, makes you think why would a child be sent to prison where the “bad men/women” are supposed to go? A child that could be sixteen or thirteen or twelve going to prison. Isn’t that scary you can’t just think that they’re just children how would you feel if someone as young as your brother, sister, cousin, niece or nephew being sent to prison for the color of their skin, for a misunderstanding or for just doing bad things I’d be scared knowing someone so close to be and so young are being put in such a terrifying and horrible position and you know there's nothing you can do about it.

Children are being imprisoned. They are giving adult trials to those who aren't even close to eighteen. They are being punished for serious, minor or accidental felonies, punishment is understandable for some of these crimes but, life in prison should not be an action used on them. Nearly 3000 of our youth nationwide have been sentenced to life in prison without a possibility of a parole.

Children as young as thirteen have been sentenced to prison with no consideration of their age what so ever or the circumstances of offense. Children as young as six have been sentenced to juvy and teens as young as fourteen years old have been prosecuted as adults and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of a parole.

Many children in America have a risk of abuse, neglect, domestic/community violence and poverty and, without proper help could them to even riskier lives. Many teenagers in this position can not manage all of the emotional, physical and physiological stress that has been forced upon them and so they often channel most of that energy into destructive behavior.

Many states choose to ignore this problem. It’s probably easier that way and since it’s “Not possible” for children to be put in such a situation so no one thinks about it. I wasn’t aware of such a situation until I read a book called “Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson” after reading this book I became more focused on the perspective and lifestyle of the convicted instead of just reading and agreeing with what articles say.



Dear Nailah, I loved how this

Submitted by wilkee16 on Tue, 2015-12-01 10:17.

Dear Nailah,
I loved how this idea came from a book that you read, I would be very interested in reading the same book. The claims made in this post are terrifying especially considering how we think about people in prison. In the end of your piece you discussed how different situations children are in it is inevitable that they will get into trouble. This is so true. There is no easy solution to the problem, children are doing awful things that would place adults in prison however placing children in prison will not show them that they could choose to live a different life. Thank you for your post!

our prison system

kfasimpaur's picture
Submitted by kfasimpaur on Tue, 2015-12-01 13:12.


Thank you for writing this. I like how you start with the opposing viewpoint that so many people hold.

There are so many injustices in our prison system, such as the ones you point out.

Coincidentally, I just ordered a copy of "Just Mercy" from the library. I am very interested in this topic, and Bryan Stevenson is a well-regarded expert on it. Maybe after I get it, we can talk more about the book.

Keep writing!


jail as a deterrent

Submitted by guzmanyv on Wed, 2015-12-02 07:35.

Jail is not just used as a label to shame bad people. I disagree that there are such things as minor felonies. A felony is a crime that warrants at least a year in prison and includes rape, homicide, prostitution, embezzlement, etc. We could enact stricter laws, making it impossible to imprison offenders under the age of 18 in an adult prison. Juvy is an improvement for children but are you suggesting that we have an alternative to prison/juvevile detention time?