Life Sentence Too Harsh for Twelve-Year-Old

Crazy is the prosecutor trying a 12-year-old boy as an adult for the murder of his sibling.

Cristian Fernandez, a resident of Jacksonville, hit his two-year-old brother so hard that he died. Of course, no child should resort to violence no matter the situation. But did a crime really occur?

According to the Children’s Campaign, Cristian’s mother was only 12 when he was born. The boy’s father committed suicide in front of him to avoid being arrested by the police.

Are any alarms going off in your head? They sure are in mine. This child is truly a product of his environment.

Cristian does not need to be put in jail. He needs counseling and a fresh start. He doesn’t know anything besides what he sees everyday. We can’t expect a child to know that every decision he makes today will affect him tomorrow. He was raised in a violent home, where decisions are just made and consequences are an afterthought.

According to the Children’s Campaign, if Cristian is found guilty, he will receive a life sentence without parole. If this isn’t the most idiotic thing I have heard of, I don’t know what is. Some adult murderers have been convicted but aren’t punished with life without parole.

A child should be held responsible for his wrongdoing, but if he comes from a dysfunctional home judges and prosecutors must take those circumstances into consideration.

Where was his mother when this was taking place? Parents should always know what is going on with their child. Not that I solely blame Cristian’s mother; she is a victim of circumstances. At 12, most girls are reading books, not delivering babies; they still think boys have cooties. I was painting my nails. If Cristian’s mother never had a childhood, she can’t possibly know how to adequately provide one.

According to, about 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their children. The website also reported that about 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

This isn’t an issue of just Cristian and his sentencing. This should be a wake up call to our society. Something is wrong with the American mindset if we think the correct way to deal with a 12-year-old boy is by locking him up in prison for the rest of his life. Is this justice? His life hasn’t even begun. He hasn’t finished middle school, graduated from high school, or probably kissed a girl.

As a society, we need to reevaluate our beliefs and our justice system. I don’t know what’s the appropriate punishment, but life without parole for Cristian isn’t justice. It’s ignorance.