International Public Survey 3 (USA)

Name: Louie Stravato

Country of residence: RI, USA

What comes to mind when you think about juvenile offenders?

I was a Providence (RI) police officer for twenty-six years, eighteen of those years as a narcotics detective. What first comes to mind when I think about juvenile offenders is that whatever offense he or she may have committed will not carry as a mark on their record in their adulthood, which allows them to hopefully have in their adulthood a successful career. Of course, this all depends on the offense committed as a juvenile.


Should juvenile offenders be treated and punished the same as adults?

Juvenile offenders should be treated and punished the same as adults depending on the severity of the crime—i.e. rape, murder, serious bodily injury. Murderer Craig Price, as a juvenile, changed the way juveniles are charged in RI. I suggest Googling his name. It hits on what this survey is about.

 

Have you ever been the victim of a juvenile offender?

I locked up numerous juvenile offenders but have never been a victim of one. My mother in her late seventies was a victim of a juvenile offender who snatched her handbag as she exited a grocery store, causing minor injuries to her hand. The juvenile was later apprehended and charged with a felony. He had numerous prior offenses and was waived as a juvenile and charged as an adult.


What kinds of things can a court do to change the behaviour of a juvenile offender?

For starters, the court can change the behavior of juvenile offenders by ordering mandatory mental health services regardless of the severity of the crime. This will hopefully assist the juvenile with his future choices in life.

 

Do you think girls offend in the same way and for the same reason as boys?

Yes, I believe that girls are capable of offending the same ways and for the same reasons as boys. Even though crimes committed are more prevalent with boys.

Do you believe juvenile detention is a good option for bad kids?

I believe juvenile detention is a good option for bad kids because it is necessary to have repercussions for their actions. I also believe they need some type of counselling while being incarcerated in order to hopefully be a productive part of society.


What is your impression of juvenile detention?

Unfortunately, my impression of juvenile detention is that of a playground for mostly misled children. Unless something is done, those who commit crimes and are not assisted properly will eventually end up in an adult facility.

 

How can the community help address the issues of a juvenile offender?

The community can help address the issues of a juvenile offender for starters by having more group activities in lower income areas where most juvenile offenders come from. This will help point most juveniles in the right direction by keeping them active.


At what age do you think children should be charged and why?

Children should start being charged at the age of thirteen but not the same way as an adult. I say thirteen because you would assume that at that age, most juveniles are capable of making intelligent decisions. I say not like an adult because they are still impressionable, and life changes can still be made.


What do you think are the causes of juvenile offending?

I believe the main causes of juvenile offending is society and in most cases upbringing. Unfortunately, these are a part of life, and only we can help make a difference.

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