A “15-year-old accused of … will be tried as an adult” (Jan. 4) is another sad commentary on punitive child treatment and misunderstanding developmental issues. Consider, is what makes A. Garza in the judge’s eyes to be tried as an adult also the reason why he shouldn’t be? As a 15-year-old who has already had run-ins with the law for possession of a drug/drug material, he needs different help. If you lock an immature mind away with men with criminal behaviors, you cannot expect change. No statistics show success in treating developing teens as adults, including punishment. The laws for military service, alcohol, voting, etc. are all set up for those over 18 solely for one’s ability to make rational decisions after that age (and let’s face it, there are plenty of cases of 18 being too young). Idaho is looking at its own justice system to improve outcomes for young people — that’s anyone under 18.
Yes, there should be strong restitution. Making a 15-year-old a victim of the adult criminal justice system is not the answer.
Margot Callahan, Boise