Teenagers, The Phantom Menace

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_n7RltmTdk-g/TKidVWJXB0I/AAAAAAAAWeY/GMzBFq0Er7o/s1600/scapegoat.jpgIf you were to read the news everyday, you might be inclined to believe that the United States has been under constant assault by a teenage menace.  This accepted fact, however, could not be more distant from the truth.

The truth is that in 2008, “Only 661 juveniles are in the state system, and yet 2,134 state employees watch over them.”  While New York deals with an overcrowded prison population, what is conspicuously absent are a wealth of child crime lords.  What is obvious is that New York, like the rest of the United States have some politicians with some deep seeded prejudices against teenagers.

The danger of this sort of criminalization of children is a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.  Police officers, looking to crackdown on the childhood criminal conspiracy target  the offenders.  Judges feel the need to send the message to other teens with harsher sentences, and legislators enact tougher laws to crack down on the menace.

Most teens can not vote and so they are the perfect scapegoat for a spike in crime.  We need to move away from this impulse as a society to help prevent children from being targeted.