Teenagers are the most protected species on the planet, and some of them know it. They fall under the category of repeat offenders whose nefarious acts of destruction or violence land them no more than a slap on the wrist and a bad reputation.
Thanks to the leniency of America's juvenile court system, for many teens, there's no genuine incentive for true reform. In many cases, the system merely represents an induction of sorts for young offenders to familiarize themselves with customizing the details of the law to their advantage. And where is the legal delineation between the teens who commit minor crimes, or are falsely accused and those who are detained for major assault and battery? Throwing them into the same pile should be a crime in and of itself.
There are reform programs within the juvenile system to educate and counsel underage offenders, and these programs are often effective in changing lives for receptive teens at risk. However, without holding teens accurately accountable for breaking the law, the outcome of implemented "programs" is dubious at best. It comes down to incentivizing adults to do a better job with the privilege of parenting.
There's no need to dredge the countless examples of community outrage over juveniles who are detained for a short period of time, and simply released back into the arms of their suddenly "protective" parents--Parents who often lack the commitment and common sense to provide an appropriate upbringing for their children.
In many cases, parents can and are being held responsible for their apparent lack of skills in the child-rearing department. They are, after all, the sometimes spoiled core of the apple that doesn't fall far from the tree.
As parental accountability has become the legally viable avenue for punishing many teen crimes, it's still imperative to avoid being swayed by the media's typically soft treatment and dialect concerning juvenile crimes. Watering down the details of true malice only exacerbates its ability to thrive.
Take for example, the juveniles in Ohio who stole a baby alpaca from a farm and beat it unmercifully until it died. With clever lawyers customizing the guilty plea to language describing the atrocity as "putting the alpaca out of its misery," one of the teens received a light punishment. Even CBS News gently cushioned the final verdict. These teens are now highly educated on how to work the intricacies of the law thanks to the court system and the media!
In essence, everyone's hands seem to be tied when it comes to juveniles who commit obviously inhumane crimes. There are some cases in which teens are tried as adults, but the majority of juvenile crimes are handled with kid gloves.
With the chips falling on the side of protecting juveniles to a stomach-turning degree, parents can and should expect to take the fall for whatever crimes their children commit. If the law doesn't allow for young offenders to be "offended," it most certainly does allow for parents to be publicly admonished, litigated against, and sent straight to prison for obvious lack of true parenting.
If the law can't send the hounds after juveniles, it's somewhat reassuring to know the hunt will surely be on for their parents. They can receive far more than a slap on the wrist for the crimes their children commit.