Youth Offenders, Christian Hernandez, & How Government Feeds Prison Industrial Complex
One thing we all know for sure, is that there’s a huge prison population. Currently there are about two million people incarcerated in this country. Having said that, it should be no surprise that there are children tried in court as adults (see here, here). One such case making the waves, is that of 12-year-old Christian Fernandez pictured above. Hernandez is currently on trial for murder, in Florida where he resides.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The youngest murder suspect in the city’s history does not have a plea deal at this point but likely will not stand trial, officials said today.
According to State Attorney Angela Corey, there is no plea deal to announce today in the Cristian Fernandez case, but the defense and prosecution are still working through details.
Fernandez, 12, is accused of first degree murder in connection with the death of his 2-year-old half brother, David Gala.
The good thing is that anyone underage who winds up in the system facing murder charges, cannot be put to death. Also, kids in situations like Christian, don’t have to look forward to spending the rest of their lives in prison per the Supreme Court. Yet the question remains: as a society, are we safer? Are stiffer sentences for youth offenders truly the answer?
The truth is, zero tolerance policies and racial bias are pushing kids out of schools and into jails across the country. But yet, our false sense of security help us sleep better at night. While we slumber, state and local government continues to fund the school to prison pipeline with juveniles, by cutting essential social programs. Sounds bassakwards I know, but it’s what’s happening.