Earl Manning, my life-long mentor, says, "Teen curfews are quite possibly the best thing ever. Teens are evil, corrupt beings and a curfew is all the world needs to cage up teen crime." Though most of Earl's wise teachings are true and insightful, on this subject he is terribly mistaken. Teen curfews are not the right solution to the problem of juvenile crime because they enroach on the rights of teens and parents, are ineffective, and there are much better solutions.
First of all, how can teen curfews be a good solution if they enroach on the rights of teens and their parents? Civil rights groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stand up for the rights of Americans as given to them by the Constitution of the United States. Teen curfews violate First Amendment rights, particularly the right to assemble. According the time line taken from "Milestones in Teen Curfews in the United States," the courts agreed in 1989.
U.S. District Judge Charles Richey blocked the implementation of a Washington DC curfew, essentially calling it unconstitutional. He said the ordinance would raise "serious constitutional claims" for teens. Curfews' constitutionality was again questioned in November 1995 when the ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court. Then again in July 2000 the rights of American teens prevailed when a federal district court judge found that Indiana's 1945 curfew violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Advocates of juvenile rights and upholding the Constitution also make it clear that curfews invade on the rights of parents to raise their children. Laws exist to protect citizens, not suppress their basic freedoms as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
A primary reason curfews are not the right solution to the problem of juvenile crime is that...