Punishing parents for children’s crimes

Punishing parents for children's crimes

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We’ve seen the violence fist hand: shootings, robberies, and carjackings.

Just this past weekend, seven teens were shot following a teen event in Birmingham. In recent cases, the people police said those responsible were teens.

Birmingham Councilwoman Lashunda Scales said in the council meeting Tuesday that parents should be held responsible for contributing to the violent acts their children commit. Scales said it could cut down on crime among youth.

"We got to send a strong message to parents it is not the responsibility of the community, it is not the responsibility of the police department, it is not the responsibility of the village to raise your children,” said Scales.

The contributing to a delinquency of a minor state statute already holds parents and guardians responsible Scales said. The city has adopted portions of it, which includes the city curfew.

She said the penalties should be stiffer for parents whose children commit a violent crime and they know about it.

"We need parents to understand the severity of what's happening in our streets amongst children who are under the age of 17. So, what I believe will happen is when parents have to pay out of their pocket, when parents are being placed in jail because they knew they had contributed to the violent acts of their children, then that's going to make them get on to those children and they will do the things that they need to do as parents,” she continued.

As it is now if you're in violation of the law, you could face a misdemeanor charge. Scales said stiffer penalties could include higher fines and jail time.

Judge Raymond Chambliss who presides over Jefferson County Family Court supports said the state statute is fair as is, but the problem is it’s not utilized enough .

Chambliss said the best way to do this is to make a child a problem to a parent, and the parent would solve the problem .

Scales is asking for the Jefferson Delegation to help draft legislation that would make the penalties stiffer .

“If these parents know that the child has either a gun in their possession, a knife , and communicating with friends who may not be necessarily in the child’s best interest and they know this is creating a gang activity, we are saying to you parents, you are our best police.”

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