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Might juvenile offenders who get treated lightly by the justice system be all the more likely to commit future crimes?
Might juvenile offenders who get treated lightly by the justice system be all the more likely to commit future crimes? (Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

In the context of juvenile justice, we are continually told that brains are still developing. This has been misinterpreted to support leniency. Let us see the results of this leniency (“Alleged Royal Farms Arena gunman had earlier shooting conviction overturned,” Feb. 7).

Calvin Stevens was charged with two brutal assaults that were transferred to juvenile court in 2008. We do not know the disposition of these cases, but we do know that two years later, he and his brother allegedly shot a man. Could these crimes not have been prevented by swift, stern justice? We read over and over of violent criminals out on trivial bail offending again, often receiving time served, suspended sentences or probation. Enough is enough.

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If juvenile brains are underdeveloped, make the message far more obvious: If you commit violent crime, the consequences will be immediate and severe. Move violent crime to the top of the case queue, add bail commensurate with the risk to the community, and assign harsh sentences to juvenile hall. When high schoolers see their worst classmates disappear for years just weeks after an event, even the most underdeveloped brain will pick up the correct interpretation: Violent crime will be punished. Toe the line.

Michael Williams, Linthicum Heights

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