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Should the age of criminal responsibility be raised?

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Criminal punishment isn't simply about jail time, "removal from society," rehabilitation, or simple punitive measures: criminal punishment carries with it a moral sanction, a sort of moral approbation indicating that a certain individual acted outside the bounds of what society is prepared to tolerate, and a stigma is attached to it. Therefore, whatever you think the purpose of criminal convictions is, you must understand that there is a certain moral gravity to labeling individuals "criminals" that cannot be avoided. You create a separate class of persons, and this is not to be taken lightly. Especially when you are prepared to create this class of citizens early in the life of an individual.

That being said, criminal law also requires an element of the "evil mind" from actors. With little exception, no one who is mentally incompetent is forced to suffer the same fate as an individual who is capable of comprehending the consequences and forbidden-ness of his act and does so anyway. Furthermore, young children are often exempted from what would otherwise be life-altering and damning societal consequences simply because they are unable to comprehend the gravity of their actions, and generally, could not have formed the "evil" intent required to establish criminal guilt. In the United States, we try some teenage actors who would otherwise be exempt from said criminal process as adults because the heinous quality of their crimes is sufficient to support an inference of perverse, demented, or otherwise "evil" intent--which would normally be impossible given their age. Without this standard--which is, again, almost never applied to very young children--it is impossible, in my view, to treat someone who has not reached his majority with equal legal scrutiny as one who has. The law cannot countenance it, because in and of itself, it is something that undermines the law.

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In that case there's an awfully big precedent for christianity not being a particularly effective deterrent.

There is a big difference between "christianity" and a real Christian. A search inside prisons for persons who were practicing before imprisonment what the Bible teaches wont prove very fruitful-unless you search in countries where human rights are freely violated. Nobody is perfect though.

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