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Word Count: 750
I In Chicago an 11-year old gang member shoots a 14-year old girl to death In turn the young gang member is found dead a few days later with two bullets in the back of his head His suspected killers are 14 and 16 years old In Littleton Colorado two students opened fire on classmates and teachers with semiautomatic weapons and homemade bombs killing 12 students and a teacher before turning their weapons on themselves and taking their own lives In Somerset Pennsylvania a 14-year-old is charged with hammering nails into the heels of a younger boy In Fuquay-Varina North Carolina a 13-year-old boy is accused of beating a 22-year-old female neighbor with a mop handle and then raping her These hellish snapshots re-emphasize one major idea in modern culture juvenile justice reforms need to dig deeper Such startling headlines are clear indications that tougher penalities for junvenile crime must be implemented II Statistics show that juvenile crime is on the rise A According to FBI records people under the age of 18 account for 13 of all arrests for burglary larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft 13 for aggravated assault 26 for robbery and 7 for murder B Between 1983 and 1992 juvenile arrest rates jumped 128 for murder and non-negligent manslaughter 95 for aggravated assault and 25 for rape C In 1994 Florida Michigan New York Texas California and Illinois alone accounted for 56 of juveniles arrested for murder IIIStiffer penalties will enforce accountability for ones own actions A Current punishment is not serious enough to discourage juvenile violence 1 Nearly forty percent have their cases dismissed before or during the trial stage 2 When courts finally lock an older teen up more often than not that teen has accumulated a long rap sheet with arrests starting in the early teens 3 Forty-three percent of juveniles in state institutions have more than five prior arrests and twenty percent have been arrested
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