I’m not my brother’s keeper. But I am my kids’ parent. Financially, I believe parents should be responsible for the criminal mischief their children get involved in. If there are damages to be paid, or fines, or other such fees, it falls on the parents’ shoulders. I don’t believe, however, in putting parents in jail for their kids crimes. I think that is in direct conflict with the purpose of the punishment. It is difficult enough today to teach values and morals in a world filled with “that depends on what is is” and “I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to drive on a suspended license”. Or, “if the glove doesn’t fit…” There are too many examples for todays adolescents and troubled teens on how to shirk their responsibility for their actions. Their celebrity heroes and heroins do it all the time, very publicly. Allowing them to do the crime and forcing their parent to do the crime reinforces that behavior.
Instead, I think we need to stop regulating how a parent can discipline their child. Many parents today are fearful of spanking, raising their voice, withholding privileges, or otherwise punishing their kids. They fear scrutiny from their friends, family and the general population. They fear their kids will legally divorce them. They fear they will lose custody or be tried themselves in a court of law. Enough. Our parents did the best they could rearing us. Each generation does the same. Some don’t do it as well as others, they go too far, and they do deserve not to be parents. But, in general, we all make it to adulthood with a few mental scars and many mental lessons that needed to be learned.