Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: At what age does responsibilty start?


My question is two pronged:
What age are we accountable for our actions?
What age should we be legally accountable for our actions?

Here in Canada we have a controversial young offenders act. Children under a certain age (14 I believe) are not tried as adults and so are not subject to adult penalties. This is meant to protect children who "get off on the wrong foot" they get a second chance as it were. However, there have been problems with abuse of this law. Some gangs recruit children to do killing or other things because they will not be charged the full penalty. There have been children who have flaunted the law and used it to their advantage. There have probably also been chlidren whose life have been taken out of a tailspin by this law, but you would never see that in the papers.

What do you think? Posted by Picasa


Stevie B said...

I think it's under the age of 17, or at least it was 10 years ago when i was a teenager.

I personally don't believe they should have less of a penalty than adults. I cringe when i read newspaper articles that won't name offenders because they're teenagers. I think some shame and consequence will do a work on young men and women's hearts and is PART of the way they can learn from their mistakes. I know public humiliation worked on me for my misbehaviors, so how much more if people break the law, the media doesn't hesitate to mention their names when they report on it.

But that's just me.

Good posts, I've read a few of them before while surfing blog explosion.

Cara said...

Thanks for the comment! I'm torn on the issue myself I can understand the desire to protect those who may not have had protection themselves, to not give them a criminal record that will really hurt their work life, but you do lose some of the fear of doing wrong.

Joel said...

Personally I think that penalties should be stiffer. Most people don't want to know how far I would suggest the law go, but I believe the penalty should fit the crime, but no more! People driving drunk and killing someone but getting off with just a fine is not acceptable in my books, nor is a teenager who shoots someone but gets off with just some counselling and community service.

Hard time and just punishments should be in place, but then you'd actually need a legal system everyone would trust... and when would that ever happen?

nephew alex said...

Accountable? As soon as we can act, we should be accountable. What form the accountability takes may change as one ages. But I would think that any child of reasonable intelligence over the age of 8 or so should be able to draw a line between action and consequence.

Kim said...

I will certainly comment on this but later....for now I need to spend the day in the justice system!!