Have you ever wondered what makes a criminal commit countless crimes? Or maybe you haven’t put to much thought into it? Though everyone is responsible for their own actions, what if the criminal isn’t even considered an adult? What about the minors sitting in Juvenile Detention Centers? What about the minors sitting in adult prisons? What about them? Children still in the care of their parents or other guardians. It brings up the question of if parents/guardians should be held accountable for the child’s behavior. Let’s look at the responsibility of parents.
Besides the basics of a home and food ect, the overall job of a guardian or parent is to raise the child in loving and caring environment, and to show them the differences between right and wrong. To raise their child to be a contributing member of society. Sadly, not everyone is raised in a loving environment, or their parents didn’t discipline them like they should have. Parents help shape the personality of their child, they are responsible for their childs’ actions, so why aren’t we punishing the parents too? Children are like a fresh block of wet clay.
When they are young, learning how to walk, talk, and learning social skills, they are extremely impressionable during that stage of life. Children are shaped by their environment, their culture, and by the way they are raised. Harvards’ Center on the Developing Child say that “ early experiences affect the quality of that architecture by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health and behavior that follow. ” So when a poor innocent child is neglected or abused they will suffer throughout their teen years and adulthood.
In fact children who stayed in environments of maltreatment averaged a 47% higher delinquency rate than children from non-neglectful homes. Children from physically abusive homes are reported to commit twice as many offences and are three times more likely to commit more violent crimes. Leading to the point of parents being held responsible for their childs’ actions, especially if they mistreated their child. There are many cases where child abuse, neglect, and failure to teach children from right and wrong had been a leading cause to the actions of the juvenile.
One that stands out amongst the rest is the case of the “affluenza teen” who had killed four people and injured two while driving drunk. Ethan Couch had been described as being a “victim” of affluenza, which isn’t some terminal disease, nor is it anything like depression. Affluenza is defined as “the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence (having great wealth) regarded especially as a widespread societal problem” according to merriam-websters’ dictionary.
Affluenza appears in the wealthy, usually happens to lottery winners or people who have suddenly acquired a large sum of money. However it was different for the sixteen you old Ethan Couch who was born into wealth, and whos’ parents hadn’t set any boundaries for him. The court gave him a soft sentence of ten years on probation and attending a rehab. Now, if you thought that helped little Mr. Richy Rich, you are wrong. Ethan later violated his probation by running off into Mexico with his mother.
Now, these parents have done nothing to discipline their child, (the court didn’t really help either) who killed four innocent people. He took the life of a youth pastor, the life of a fathers’ little girl, took the mans’ wife as well. He had injured two of his own friends’, the accident leaving one paralyzed and unable to speak. His blood alcohol content was 0. 24%, he caused so much damage, both property and emotionally. His parents did nothing, they helped him get out of the sticky predicament, that caused so much heart ache.
His parents should be held accountable for his crimes, for not raising him properly and endangering the public with poor parenting. That is only one of many stories about children whose parents had created a criminal. I’m sure if you were to ask any of the 2. 3 million people incarcerated in the United States a good portion would describe a miserable childhood, no childhood, reckless parents or anything else that would reflect on a parents negative influence on their child’s lives. So how do we fix the issue?
It’s easier than we’d like to admit, We know that parents have a large impact on the actions of their kids, we can prevent the cradle to prison pipeline easily. Early prevention should be taken. As in if there is an unfit parent or guardian, the child should be put into a better home or the parents go to some sort of class to ensure proper parenting and discipline. Preventing an issue is much easier and cheaper than remediating poor behavior. If we can’t prevent it, then immediate remediation should be taken, but maybe something more different than putting a child behind bars.
When given some form of behavioral remediation or responsibility there is a low chance of going back to bad behavior. In fact as compared with a 50–percent recidivism rate for the control group, only 32 to 38 percent of the juveniles who were given employment and multimodal or behavioral programs were estimated to go back to bad behavior. We as a society should work with parents and their children to prevent and remediate poor behavior in our nation’s future. All in all, it’s the criminal’s life, so they will do whatever it is they wish.
However when punishing an offender, we should look at the ones who raised the criminal. What did the guardian do to raise their child to be a contributing member of society? Did they do all they could? Or did they abuse their child? Did they neglect them? Maybe they spoiled them rotten to the core, never instilling a sense of responsibility for their actions. For that, they did their child and, society a disservice. For that, the parent should be punished alongside the child they raised. As my mother always said, it’s all about the parenting.