According to legislator Rogelio Paredes, during the last two years there have been no less than SIX cases of kids under 14 years old committing serious crimes (yes, that's three per year), so it WAS ABOUT TIME that Martinelli and his gang passed a law that will put an end to childly innocence. With already over two murders and countless robberies a day, we can't have those little punks adding to that amount.
So, civilized as they are in Panama's business-oriented government, they lowered the age limit for children to be prosecuted as if they were adults to 12 years.
So, what's the legal situation now, in crime-land? Bananama Republic sums it up for you:
If you're a twelve year old kid and you steal a loaf of bread from Martinelli's Super99, they will throw you in an overpopulated jail for between 5 to 10 years where you will be raped and starved and trained to become a better criminal when you get out - if you survive, that is.
On the other hand, if you are a legislator and you steal a couple of millions from the Social Investment Fund AND you are aligned with SuperPresident Martinelli, nothing will happen to you, and the worst that theoretically (there are no known cases) could happen is that you go to jail for between 2 and 4 years.
If that isn't justice and civilization we don't know what is!
Next step: Follow the initiative of our neighbor's president Uribe, and turn these little kids into underpaid snitches! As they will no doubt get killed in the process, this saves prison space too.
I know this seems very, very harsh and it is, but, if the kids know what will happen to them if they get caught, it would definitely be a deterent. If we are too leinient with crime charges, crime will just progress. Nip it in the bud and teach these little folks that crime is not acceptable in any form.
What needs to be deterred if there’s only a handful of cases in over two years? This is just an attempt to look tough by the government.
A handful of reported/caught cases. There are a bunch of kids doing mischievous things in the streets, and by making an example of a few it might prevent crime in the near future. Remember that you might hear about one case or two, but the reality is that it happens a whole lot more than anyone cares to admit.
Why does the government here always swing between ridiculous extremes. One day for the justice system an adult is 18 years old the next day he is 12!! What happened to reducing it to 16 when there are extenuating circumstances.