Free Essay. Main Arguments in "Second Chance Kids"

Published: 2023-11-03
Free Essay. Main Arguments in "Second Chance Kids"
Essay type:  Persuasive essays
Categories:  Criminal law Childhood Criminal justice Social issue
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 879 words
8 min read

The video of Second Chance Kids investigates the concept of teens convicted of murder getting a second chance without languishing in the fate of serving life in prison. The film shows the effect of re-evaluating many of juvenile murder cases. The Supreme Court rules while relying heavily on developmental science (Frontline 2017). It says that in the situation of teenage offenders, their personal circumstances must be considered at the time of the sentencing. The court rules that many of the kids charged with murder need to be given another chance to prove that they have changed.

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The court draws its ruling from the case of Rolon, who committed the crime of stabbing Bobby Botelho to death (Frontline 2017). As punishment, he was sentenced to life prison without the chance of parole. It was at the time of the country's crackdown where teenagers had been labeled dangerous and not capable of changing. Academics and democrats popularized the theory of super predators and naming these kids violent that resulted in disproportionate extreme sentences for the youths of blacks and Latinos.

Those not in support of second chances say that there are people who should not be released because some of the crimes that the kids committed are so harmful to the community that they deserve to be in jail for life. In the case of the two prisoners in the video, they have a chance of new life to state that they have changed, but the challenge is how they will live after spending close to a decade behind bars.

Personal Opinion on the Debate

I believe that kids deserve second chances, and courts have to re-evaluate the need for parole for them. It is difficult to determine how much punishment is enough, but it certainly is not life in prison without parole. It is cruel to tell a child of 13 years that they are only fit to die in prison (Frontline 2017). Within years in prison, the child gets to change and admit that they may have done that because they were bad kids or angry at the time. Similarly, the kid may confess that they have changed, and they feel ashamed for what they did. Giving them second chances would do a lot better than letting them rot in prison for their entire life.

The US Supreme Court banned the concept of life without parole in non-homicide juvenile cases as well as mandatory life terms for juveniles in homicide cases. They also ruled that in cases where they cannot determine how the juvenile can be rehabilitated when they have committed murder, they are likely to serve life without parole terms (Frontline 2007). The court's reason for banning life without parole was to give them an opportunity for review to be granted after a certain period of incarceration, and one that considers the circumstances of the defendant. Allowing offenders to have the opportunity for parole ensures that kids whose crime show their transient immaturity are not forced to serve life sentences that they do not deserve.

Life without Parole Discussion

Life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of homicide does not achieve the goal of justice. It is justice when the individual learns their lesson and cannot repeat the same act a second time. Juveniles may have committed crimes because they were in the wave of being bad and peer pressure from their friends. It is easier to direct them to better ways when they are young because they learn and not exactly be forced to serve disproportionate sentences because they violated the law.

The punishment goal of deterrence is to instill fear in offenders. In deterrence, there is an increase in the severity and certainty of punishment as the society seeks to aim at increasing the fear of punishment among the ones punished and the general population (Agnew & Brezina 2018). Such fear is meant to deter juveniles from committing crimes.

Using deterrence seeks to ensure an increase in direct control upon the offender. Those who are in support of deterrence try to mean that there is a high likelihood that police will catch the offender. Deterrence is a good strategy to scare bad kids and show them that they should not be committing crimes.

For specific deterrence, the conclusion reached is that tough approaches for offenders tend to increase instances of future offending. Incapacitation answers the question of whether locking up delinquents reduces delinquency because it is difficult to deter juveniles from committing crimes. The argument presented is that there is a need to lock up serious offenders for long periods because such a measure will substantially reduce crime.

The reason provided is that when offenders are locked, there is no possibility of committing crimes in the streets. I agree that incapacitation is an important strategy as it is motivated by the desire to protect society by having serious offenders getting off the street. Such approaches are necessary to deal with juvenile offenders without putting them in prison for life.


Agnew & Brezina (2018). The strategies of deterrence and incapacitation- is it possible to control delinquency by punishing more offenders and punishing them more severely? Chapter 23.

Frontline, (2007). When kids get life. Season 2007 Episode 9. PBS., (2017). Second chance kids. Season 2017 Episode 10. PBS.

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