Juvenile offenders often
victims of major struggles
Re: “How California can help juveniles get back on track” (Mercurynews.com, Opinion section, Feb. 1):
The juvenile justice system needs improvement. Juvenile offenders are often victims of major struggles, such as child abuse, poverty, mental illness or brain dysfunction due to fetal alcohol or drugs exposure. Additionally, kids’ brains don’t fully mature until approximately age 25.
The above factors should be considered in juvenile sentencing, yet our young people are handed down life-wrecking felonies, placed in juvenile custody or even prison, sentenced to life-time s*x-offender registration, tried as adults and other destructive punishments when, in many cases, these kids need mental health services and opportunities for rehabilitation.
Rather than apply ruinous punishment, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office must provide our young offenders with appropriate mental health services and other resources to help them develop into productive members of society — it’s called restorative justice.
A true gauge of a society’s moral integrity is how humanely it treats its offenders/prisoners, especially its youth.
Toni Halliwell, RN, PHN
Letter: Juvenile offenders often victims of major struggles