What if -- and stay with us on this one -- you were an alien from another planet. For whatever reason, you're here on Earth and you look like a human. So as you wander aimlessly across this new world, you trespass on someone's property and you're arrested. The police take you in and start interrogating you, but of course you have no idea what's going on. You don't know you have rights. You don't even know what crime you've committed.
Is this a perfect comparison to teens or juveniles who are interrogated for crimes they commit? Well, no. It certainly screams of false equivalency. But the point we are trying to make is echoed by a recent study that found teenagers who were placed in an interrogation room had no clue what their rights were, or what they were even supposed to do while they were in there.
The study, which was reported on by the New York Times, found that of 57 videotaped interrogations of teens between the age of 13 and 17, not one of the teen suspects had a lawyer present. None of them even invoked their right to remain silent. The teens even had the ability to get up and leave if they wanted to, but none did that. And we don't say this to mock them -- we say it because these teens have no idea what their rights are or what they are even allowed to do in that situation. Why would they? What teenager has an in-depth knowledge of the criminal process?
It's a serious problem because these interrogations are just churning out young people who have criminal histories, and their future's are forever different as a result. It's unfair and something needs to change.