The Rights of the Child Treaty, now in the final stages of negotiations at the United Nations, will include a provision barring the placement of any person under eighteen years of age in a prison with adults. Should the United States sign the Treaty – and Hillary is negotiating to do so – it will invalidate state laws that require teens over sixteen (fifteen in some states) accused of murder and other heinous violent crimes to be tried and sentenced as adults.
Our new book, Screwed!: How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off and Plundering Our Economy — and How Our Leaders Help Them Do It, documents this key threat to our ability to deal appropriately with leaders of gangs like the Latin Kings. Prosecutors note that gang leaders often use juveniles to commit the worst of crimes because of their immunity from prosecution as adults. Changes in state law – that would be invalidated by this Treaty – have reduced this tendency and led to serious prison time for serious crimes committed by sixteen and seventeen year olds.
Treaties, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, have the force of Constitutional Law in the United States and take precedence over any state, federal or local laws to the contrary.
In the aftermath of the crime wave of the 70s and 80s, most states changed their criminal justice laws to require that teens over sixteen be tried as adults for crimes such as murder, rape, or, in cases of gang leaders, of drug selling. These laws put the defendants, if convicted, in adult prison facilities. Children’s prisons tend to be minimum security facilities designed to keep children under supervision until they reach eighteen. Then they are typically released. Very few, if any, are then transferred to adult penitentiaries to serve a full sentence.
But the Rights of the Child Treaty, in its current form, includes a provision that flatly prohibits putting children in the same prison as adults, regardless of what state and federal laws provide.
The slap-on-the wrist treatment juvenile offenders get in children’s facilities contrast sharply with the effective long sentences now being meted out by the federal courts before whom most big drug cases are now prosecuted. The resulting drop in crimes, particularly in homicides, has been heartening and largely removed crime from the nation’s political agenda.
Now, unless we stop it, the United Nations is about to force us to adopt sentencing laws which do nothing to punish juvenile offenders and, indeed, offer little disincentive to a life of crime.
Read Screwed! about all the Treaties Obama and Hillary are planning to push through in their final months in office and how to fight to kill them.
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