To many Americans today, the country is a hostage-but not from oversea terrorism as
one might expect to think. No today, we live in fear from our own children; and these are the
same young people who we are entrusting the future of this great country with. According to
the Department of Justice report released in November, thirty-eight percent of those arrested
for weapons offenses in 1995 were under the age of eighteen (Curriden 66). In the same
report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that in 1995 3 out of every 100
eighteen-year-olds was arrested for weapons offenses. A rate three times higher than for
males twenty-five to twenty-nine and five times higher than for males thirty to thirty-four (66).
Just weeks later the FBI released a report indicating that arrests for youths under eighteen
increased by seven percent in 1996 (66). In light of these disturbing statistics, it may not be
surprising that the general public is starting to believe its children are getting meaner and
The media, politicians and the American public want something done, and they
want it done now. Right now we are beginning to relize that if the situation looks bleak now,
it could deteriorate even more in the future. The U.S. Census projects that the juvenile
population, reported to be 27.1 million in 1994, will rise to 33.8 million by the year 2004 (67).
At the heart of this controversy: the juvenile justice system. For the past several years
the system has been under attack by every one from state legislatures to parenteen groups.
Our solution to the rising juvenile crime problem- to get tougher. According to a recent USA
Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, 60 percent of Americans believe that a teenager convicted of murder
should get the death penalty (ollson48). In response...