I have a confession to make.
Until a few days ago, I had no clue who in heck Josh Duggar was or why he seemed to be dominating my social media feeds. This kind of glaringly revealed that I'm no big fan of reality TV shows. Oh damn.
What I'm seeing mostly is that Mr. Duggar is being used as the latest stir straw in the culture cocktail wars but not until now had I seen the angle Rebecca Hamilton is taking on it all:
My questions about this do not concern the treatment Mr Duggar is receiving from the media. I am wondering why, since he was a minor at the time these things occurred, his records were made public in the first place.
There is a reason for sealing the judicial and criminal records of minors. That reason is simply that minors can and often do commit criminal acts and then never do it again. Adolescent offenders are actually likely to go on to lead productive lives.
I personally know people who committed crimes when they were minors and who have lived long productive lives as successful members of the community. I grew up with these people. Their actions as youthful offenders in no way represents who they are now. They, quite literally, grew out of their violent adolescence and went on to live productive and respectable lives.
Our juvenile justice system is based in part on the understanding that minors, in particular adolescents, have an enormous capacity for positive growth. They are in fact and in truth, children. Their ways are not fixed. With proper intervention and with love, they can and they often do, change entirely.
That is why we do not put minors in adult prisons and do not, with a few exceptions for specific violent crimes, try them as adults. It is also why we seal their records.
The reasoning behind sealing the records of adolescents who commit crimes or who have various problems is that adolescents are not fully formed adults. They are not culpable for their actions in the same way that an adult would be. They also have a much greater potential for successful and life-long reform than an adult would have.
Sealing an adolescents’ records is a way of giving them a second chance. When they grow up to be productive adults who do not repeat the behaviors that got them into trouble, it is considered that they have demonstrated successful reform. Sealing their records, or even expunging their records, is a way our legal system has of giving minors a second chance at life.
My question in the Duggar situation is why wasn’t this done with his records?
Who's got that answer?