While yes would seem the logical answer, I must say “No,” with some qualifications. First of all, why are some minor children criminals? They might have wonderful, God-fearing, law abiding, caring and compassionate parents who have raised them well, but other factors have run interference.
For instance, sometimes sexual abuse and criminality is linked. What if, in the case of a great two-parent home, a minor son has been sexually abused to the point where he wants to psychologically burst, and decides to act out in order to facilitate a radical change or even a revenge? What if this truth cannot come out?
Sometimes poverty and criminality has been linked, as has the “single parent” phenomenon. I do not feel any of these factors are excuses, but who am I to judge how other people cope or do not cope? If we hold poverty stricken single parents accountable, then we would have to go after our governments who set the minimum wage, and the absent ex husbands and ex wives that are perpetuating crime by virtue of their absences(?).
I used to feel it would be a wise response to hold parents responsible, simply because there are also quite a few irresponsible, violent parents who sometimes raise irresponsible, violent, criminal minors, too. Because most incidences in life are not as simplistic as they appear, it is always relevant to gather all the information about as many preceding events as possible, particular when dealing with minors. The influence we have can be powerful in a positive, or negative, way, and I would certainly rather impact them positively for the future, even if I have to challenge criminal activity in the process. To this end, I reiterate it is crucial to look into preceding events and patterns, and even find out whether the minor has experienced healthy consequences for his behavior before this time, and if not, why not? That can make it easier to understand how to hold him/her responsible in a way that truly impacts, challenges, and matures him/her, rather than his/her parents, who will be a whole lot more difficult to influence at their stage.
I feel if we are to hold parents responsible, then we must also hold professionals accountable when they are fully aware a potentially ill and violent criminal is released into the public domain, only to take 32 lives, for example. We will have to hold pastors or priests accountable after terrorizing young boys in their congregations, only to have these boys grow into depressed, angry, or perhaps abusive husbands and fathers. I wonder why! Should they be in jail? I guess we hold them accountable via financial settlements (instead of jail time), but that probably does not always satisfy victims (understandably!) so we would have to hold community forums, then consider this question with great clarity and a lot of input before answering it and then implementing some responses we might later regret.