Change Juvenile Crime Sentences

In June 2011, D’Marques Jones, then 15, raped and killed his half-sister in Barberton, Ohio. She was 3 years old.

Last week Jones, now 17, was sentenced to incarceration in an Ohio facility for youthful offenders. He was told to stay out of trouble there. If Jones manages to do that, he will be released from custody when he reaches 21.

A judge who issued the sentencing had no choice under state law but to send Jones to the juvenile center and tell him that, regardless of the depravity of his crime, he will be free in less than four years if he keeps his nose clean.

Juvenile offenders should be treated differently than adults. But 15 years of age is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong – certainly about raping and killing a 3-year-old girl. Clearly sentencing rules for offenders such as ones need to be altered.