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  • Writer's pictureKailey Lei

Exploring the Impact of Exonerations: How Can We Make a Difference?

Updated: Apr 21

When one thinks of teenage delinquency, a typical image of juvenile rebellion comes to mind – a mounting sense of independence causes teenagers to disregard parental authority, fall into the influence of substances, and commit crimes they don’t seem to grasp the gravity of – all driven by the soon-to-be-adult adrenaline. However, a different image of teenage delinquency is increasingly becoming the future of the juvenile justice system: the agonizing sobs echoing in the courtroom as a son or daughter’s future is destroyed for a crime they didn’t commit.

Today, the current juvenile justice system is heavily flawed, mostly focused on “quick-fix solutions, and a media more intent on reporting violent crimes than successful prevention efforts” (ACLU ).

Leading Causes

The adversarial justice system today is a tedious process, driven by the exploitation of weaknesses, rather than truth. This makes the system increasingly vulnerable to fatal mistakes, especially where youth, the core of the nation’s future, are at risk. The Youth Innocence Project even gives an estimate that 1 in 4 juveniles are wrongfully convicted (Youth Innocence Project). This is a shocking 25%!

What We Should Do

While technology advances to decrease injustices, one of the best and most expansive methods is through awareness. Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware of the extent of the issue until it affects them personally. We cannot wait until this matter is unbearable. Wrongful youthful convictions are not a personal issue; it is a concern that warns of the future of justice. Our nation’s tomorrow depends on what we do today. Human error is inevitable, but any error in a system that is dependent on accuracy is fatal. Mistakes cannot be looked over, so awareness is the first step towards exonerations.

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