Thirty-five years sounds like an appropriate sentence for an adult.

For a 15-year-old with a long history of problems, including suicidal thoughts, it sounds harsh.

For the guilty of any age, there needs to be punishment, and a harsh sentence is the judiciary’s way of expressing the moral outrage a community demands.

But it’s cruel and unusual to say a teenager deserves the same long-term punishment, under the same conditions, as someone five to 10 years his senior. Even the Supreme Court has started to agree with that.

Such draconian sentencing “precludes consideration of [a juvenile’s] chronological age and its hallmark features — among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,” Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote last year when the court ruled unconstitutional state laws that require youths convicted of murder be sentenced to life without parole.

Bobby Gladden did not commit murder. But he committed what you might call failed murder. So what he did warrants punishment. He needs to be away from Perry Hall, out of circulation, for a while.

But where he’s put away and what happens there could make all the difference between a wasted life and one that some day contributes to society.

There’s little support in this country for putting “corrections” back into our corrections system, especially when it comes to adults.

But do we really want to continue sentencing teenagers to the prisons that serve, at best, as human warehouses and, at worst, as the boot camps for gangs?

That boy from Perry Hall doesn’t need years in prison among adult criminals; he needs a hospital and therapy. He needs help fixing his broken life.

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  20. copenskoal said: There’s a differance between doing teenage crimes and attempted murder. He’s young, not dumb. He knows exactly what he was doing and depression/suicidal tendencys isn’t a valid excuse. He wanted to commit a mans crimes let him take a mans punishment
  21. crimesandkillers posted this