Teen Killer In Trouble Again
You may recall the case of Lionel Tate
from a few years back. At age 12, he beat a 6-year-old girl to death, claiming that he had just been playing around with some wrestling moves he'd seen on TV. Originally sentenced to life, he got a break when the courts overturned the conviction. On retrial he pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served.
Now he's in trouble for holding up a pizza delivery man. No particular surprise there, but get the way it plays in this AP report:Now, despite that fresh start, he could be going back behind bars for life for allegedly robbing a delivery man at gunpoint of four pizzas worth $33.60.
Gun possession is enough to revoke probation, and the judge hearing the case set to begin Monday, Broward County Circuit Judge Joel T. Lazarus, can put Tate back behind bars whether or not he is actually convicted of the new allegations.Florida and dozens of other states have laws permitting children who commit serious crimes to be tried and punished as adults, rather than seeking to rehabilitate them.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported in October that at least 2,225 people are serving life sentences without parole in U.S. prisons for crimes they committed under age 18. Six of them were 13 when their crimes were committed; none were 12 as Tate was.
"We don't seem capable of recognizing that our traditional approach to crime and justice often fails with adolescents," said Jeffrey A. Butts, a research fellow at the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children. "Prison by itself doesn't do a lot to change behavior or improve someone's chances of success."
No, it doesn't. What it does do is get thugs and murderers away from us, improving society's chances of success.