Critical Thinking Essay
The ability of a person to consciously acknowledge the environment develops during the course of a lifetime. From childhood to maturity, people learn to believe what they see and cognize the meaning of the world. However, there is a significant difference in the perception of the world between young people and adults (Feldman, 2011). The case of Christopher Simmons is a fine example of how these differences are manifested in action. According to the information provided by the International Justice Project (2003), Christopher Simmons was a minor when he was sentenced to death. However, later on it was proved that such sentence did not correspond to the subsequently discovered evidence of Simmons’s mental illness.
It is believed that children and adolescents acquire the type of behavior they see in their families. Prior to becoming mature adults, they simply copy what they see in this micro-environment. For many of them like Christopher Simmons the familiar behavior is something natural, and they do not realize the fact of murder until they commit it. Neither they are able to acknowledge the fact of their death penalty sentence.
The adolescent brain is built in such a way that young people tend to view the reality based on their learned typical behaviors, and they are not yet ready to confront those things that should be foreseen by them based on the analysis of these typical behaviors (Feldman, 2011). For this reason, I believe that death penalty should be reviewed as a sentence in each particular case. The evidence for sentencing a minor to death is in many cases not enough to justify such sentence from the point of view of psychology and morality. The cases should be judged based on the past behavior and the environment in which the person grew up, and the type of family that has been an example of behavior and cultural values. ProCon.org (2013) also suggests that usually those who are sentenced to death in young age are not able to afford good attorneys. Therefore, each case should be judged separately based on the past experiences of the criminal and the factors of his environment.
- Feldman, Robert S. (2011). Discovering the Life Span. USA: Prentice Hall.
- International Justice Project (2003). Christopher Simmons. The Associated Press Inc. Retrieved from URL: http://www.internationaljusticeproject.org/juvCSimmons.cfm, [accessed 2 March 2013].
- ProCon.org (2013). Death Penalty. Retrieved from URL: http://deathpenalty.procon.org/, [accessed 2 March 2013].