Western societies have special laws, and punishments, for juveniles because we recognize the special status of children. We cherish childhood but, at the same time, we understand that their brains are not fully developed and that they shouldn’t be held fully accountable for their foibles. Each society sets its own limits to what it considers childhood. In Judaism, the age is 12 for girls and 13 for boys. Judaism recognizes that there are innate differences between the sexes. What it does not recognize is that brain development, and the age of puberty, varies with the times. The ages 12 and 13 are set in stone regardless of how things change in the real world. However, since biblical punishments are no longer administered in rabbinical courts, there is little cause for concern.

In most of the U.S., 18 is the age when juveniles become adults. According to Cornell University:

Juvenile justice is the area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states, the age for criminal culpability is set at 18 years. Juvenile law is mainly governed by state law and most states have enacted a juvenile code. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment.

This policy coincides fairly closely with the age at which people complete puberty. According to Wikipedia, both boys and girls typically compete puberty by age 17.

Although there is a wide range of normal ages, girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11; boys at ages 11-12.Girls usually complete puberty by ages 15–17, while boys usually complete puberty by ages 16–17.

Jewish law emphasizes the beginning of puberty while U.S. law emphasizes the completion of puberty. Since boys and girls complete puberty at about the same time, U.S. law makes no distinction between them for criminal culpability.

But times are changing and children are entering puberty at younger ages than in the past. Explanations vary, and all groups appear to be affected by this, but blacks tend to enter puberty earlier than other races. CBS News, for example, reports:

Researchers have found signs of puberty in U.S. boys at an average age of 9 for blacks, 10 for whites and Hispanics — up to two years earlier than previously reported. Other studies have suggested that girls are also entering puberty younger.

The age difference between blacks and whites is about the same as the difference between boys and girls. This corresponds to the differences in criminality between genders and races. The difference in criminality between blacks and whites is the same as between men and women.

All of the above may be purely academic. Brain development may or may not correspond to the stages of puberty. But hormone production, and sexual development, are part and parcel of it. If blacks reach sexual maturity earlier than whites, this is a valid argument for segregation. Some 12 and 14 year-old girls would probably agree.

A Rockland County judge found four middle-school boys guilty of gang raping one 14-year-old girl and sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in Ramapo, N.Y. …

During the attacks, the older girl rejected their advances, saying she was menstruating. The boys instead sexually assaulted the younger girl, who fought them off, according to The Journal News.

The boys then returned to the older girl and took turns raping her while the others held her down, according to the paper.

One of the boys said he tried to have sex with the girl but did not penetrate her.

“I didn’t want to be a punk,” the paper reported the boy said, “I didn’t want to seem like anyone who didn’t do it.”

It goes without saying that the rapists are black. The victims are from Costa Rica. This is one of several known instances where very young black boys have been charged with sexual misconduct. There are certainly many thousands of other incidents that are not reported, and where charges were never brought.

U.S. juvenile law was designed for whites. Blacks need their own system, and the two should not mix. At least until they reach full adulthood. A 2006 New York Times article focused on the plight of juvenile offenders in Africa. It decries brutal treatment toward child offenders, but one paragraph is particularly telling:

Many nations face a fundamental problem: millions of children lack birth certificates. Children nearing legal adulthood, usually age 17, are difficult to tell from adults, while adult offenders often claim to be juveniles. Hardened by such deception, officials often regard all but obvious children as adults, and treat them accordingly.

Black Africa, according to the New York Times, lacks the resources to deal with juvenile crime. It might also be a bit apathetic about it, depending on Western aid for whatever improvements are made. But at least the Africans understand that their age of majority needs to be lower than that of non-black regions. My guess would be that most of those African countries were heavily influenced, perhaps even pressured, by colonial powers to adopt such a late age of majority. 14 or 15 would probably make more sense.

When the Law fails to take reality into account when setting juvenile policies, the larger public ends up falling prey to cruel “children” who cannot be fully prosecuted.

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