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JUVENILES WHO MURDER NEED HELP AND REHABILITATION, NOT DEATH ROW

Is killing someone who took someone elses life justified? No. So how can governments execute children under 18? It does not seem logical, since they can't get married until they're 18, vote or even join the army, but they can be executed.

Trying children as adults is outrageous and a violation of the Eighth Amendment -- executing children is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Many of the children who do kill do not know anything else but violence. A 1988 study showed that out of 14 death-row youths, nine suffered from major neurological impairments, seven suffered psychotic disorders prior to their sentencing and only two had IQ scores above 90. Fifty-seven percent of death-row kids are black, with 82 percent of their victims white.

Two hundred eighty one children under 18 have been executed since 1642. If a 12-year-old takes the life of another person in Montana, he can be hanged for it. In Utah and Idaho, a 14-year-old can be put before a firing squad. Only 14 states do not have a death penalty at all. Eight states have the death penalty without a minimum age, and 28 states have a minimum age, ranging from 12 to 18.

Some of the children who are sentenced to die have been rejected from the juvenile justice systems. But the majority of these children, after being removed from their bad home life and bad environment, can be rehabilitated and lead very normal lives.

Actually it costs less to rehabilitate the children who murder than putting them on death-row.

These children are not really killing people; they are killing their situations. They are striking out against their environment and the pain of their lives. They are killing the past, and if children are tried as adults, they will never see their future.

JENNIFER ENNIS
North Tonawanda

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