Liberia: Two Beautiful Young Lives Lost. And Two Families Destroyed. FOREVER!

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The Editor,

There is no single way to explain this national tragedy. Therefore, the public’s fierce scrutiny of the families, the school and the young people themselves is totally understandable given that emotions are running high.

However, we OBJECTIVELY know that there is a correlation between CRIME and AGE. We know that the age of offending peaks up at 15 and subsides at 24.

This means that the age-crime relationship is strongly biologically determined. We also know that young people (15-24 years) are generally more likely to offend than other groups within the general population.

The family, behaviour/attitude of the young person, substance use, mental health, engagement in structural activities (work/education/sports/trade/religion) and the environment are also considered in determining the RISK LEVELs of young people.

Sentencing in criminal law in most common law jurisdictions takes into account this resounding research. This means that the COURT considers AGE in its application of the sentencing principles (deterrence, JUST punishment, rehabilitation, denunciation and public safety).

Rehabilitation, as shown, to provide greater outcomes for young offenders which increases public safety. NOT punishment!

We hope that STAKEHOLDERS involved with this case give some consideration to the current research and what WORKS around the world- to adequately support the families and reach a JUST outcome.

Additionally, a focus on research and programming should be considered to support young people (15-24) so that this tragedy never sees our land again.

Samuel Sakama,

[email protected]

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