In a ridiculous move by California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkley), aims to increase the age for automatically facing criminal charges to the age of 20, under a newly proposed bill. Skinner argues that teenagers ages 18-19 are not mature enough to be treated and prosecuted as adults. Skinner’s office points out data linked to a study aimed at stating the obvious: 18 or 19-year-old brains have not fully developed and will not fully develop until several years later.
Skinner’s idea would place an unnecessary burden on the Juvenile Justice System that has seen a steady population decrease since 2006 due to more money being funneled into crime prevention. In a press release from Skinner’s office, they quoted statements from Alameda County public defender Brendon Woods, saying that “under California law, teenagers can’t buy cigarettes, beer, or even rent a car, yet they can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives. Kids should be treated like kids.”
While this is a fair statement, it’s also quite ignorant and concerning coming from a public defender. It should be noted that these California laws have not helped prevent teenage smoking, underage drinking and driving, and they have not reduced accidents involving drunk drivers. To say that the consequences of breaking laws intended to protect the public should be extended two more years because their brains aren’t fully developed is laughable.
In the same breath, these Democrats adamantly forward the idea that the voting age should be reduced to 16—which is a terrible idea. This intellectual inconsistency only highlights the political expediency of Democrats, as younger people are disproportionately liberal. Democrats also support mass amnesty for a similar reason. This isn’t a cynical or bad faith interpretation, it’s something that’s obvious to anyone who has observed the last century or Progressivism.
The inconsistency in Skinner’s argument, and anyone who supports it, is in their efforts to pick and choose how these laws affect the public—and who they affect. How is it that at 18 the government can find a person responsible for entering into binding contracts, participate in the election process, and give the ultimate sacrifice as service members to this great country, yet they are somehow magically unable to understand right from wrong and can’t be held accountable for committing a crime that would land them in jail.
The real issue here is an attempt to funnel more people into the Juvenile Justice System that has successfully decreased its population with crime prevention methods. Crime prevention and rehabilitation are where the focus for change should be, not changing the age of conviction like some lawmakers are trying to do and expecting positive results. You could make a stronger case that Skinner and the other supporters of this bill are clinically insane than you can for responsibility for committing a criminal act falls on the fact that an 18 or 19-year-old isn’t mature enough to be treated as an adult in a court of law.