Should there be curfew laws for teenagers?

Giulia - posted on 03/09/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )




I mean laws, not parent-decided curfews. I say curfew laws do more harm than good. I am a mother of 3 children aged 19, 16 and 14. I am also a family advocate. I understand that parents want to keep their children safe. I don't want my children coming home late because night time is for sleeping and adolescents really need their sleep. That's my decision, not the governments. 1st, the majority of youth crimes happen during weekdays after school (3:00PM-8:00PM). Supporters of youth curfews cite only anecdotal and incidental data. The reduction of youth crime resulted from other strategies, such as demographic and economic changes. The only study on the effectiveness of youth curfews at reducing crime showed it had no effect. 2nd, because they are coming home late, they are forced to worry about the time and want to rush home, which can cause reckless driving and therefore danger. Youth are criminalized by such laws simply for being outside of their houses, which makes the house function as a prison. Why criminalize harmless behavior to prevent something? It's like stopping car driving to end car accidents. In America, were presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty (presumption of innocence). Curfew laws contradict the presumption of innocence by assuming all youth are potential law breakers. Curfew laws suppress the problem instead of getting to the cause of the problem and harms innocent youth. What about youth who are in abusive situations at home? Outside late night is safer than family for these youth. Should 5 year olds be free to roam the street at 4 in the morning? That's the parent's decision, not the governments. If curfew laws are repealed, kids will be more likely to defy their parent’s curfews. There are no laws against talking back and not doing chores, yet parents manage to handle these issues just fine. Curfew laws are enforced more heavily in back neighborhoods then in white neighborhoods. Prison is no place for our kids.


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Ev - posted on 03/10/2013




The reason for these curfew laws is clear. Where I come from in the small towns as well as the larger ones, 10 pm is the week night curfew and if you have a job as a teen and get caught out, usually you can tell the police and they can check friend's son had a job at 15 and he walked home from the MOVIE THEATER during the week and on weekends. He had a shirt that he had to wear for work and that was how the cops knew. Once the cops had established who he was and when he worked they usually left him alone but often stopped and gave him a ride to the house!

There is no reason for kids to be outside the house after 10 pm on a week night nor past 11 pm on a weekend. If a kid has a job and can prove that, there should be no problem. If the kid is 19 well a driver's lisence is going to show their age and the curfews are for those under 18. Even twenty somethings are not made to be under a curfew.

THe curfews are a safety net. A lot of drunk drivers are out after 10 pm and accidents are higher at late night than during the day with drunk drivers. It does keep the kids out of trouble especially in smaller towns where there are not many things to do outside of home or a friend's home.

[deleted account]

I don't know how it is everywhere but where I am the first year after you get your drivers license there is a midnight curfew. I don't know how it's enforced probably if you get caught out later than that you get a ticket. I grew up in the middle of now where (less than 1000 people in town and one blinking stop light in the middle of town) so there was very rarely cops around. I ended up having it extended because I got a ticket during that time so I had the midnight curfew until I was 18.

For younger kids I really think it should be up to the parents.

Kristi - posted on 03/10/2013




As the devil's advocate here...

I don't think curfew laws are enforced very often all. I think your argument for a child/teen being outside in the middle of the night because it's safer is absurd. If a law enforcement official found a child out wandering around in the middle of the night and decided, I'm going to arrest this 10 year old for curfew violation without first determining WHY the child is wandering outside alone in the middle of the night, then he should be fired for dereliction of duty.

So, let's assume he's not a total dumbass and he actually talks to the kid first. Once he finds out that the kid was/is in danger he will act accordingly, not put him in "prison" for a curfew violation. Yes, I'm aware many kids are afraid to tell about their home lives but most cops are trained to pick up on signs of child abuse, domestic violence, etc. so it's unlikely he would just send a kid home without knowing what he was sending them home to.

Your "Presumption of Innocence" argument does not hold water either. Curfew is 10pm (or whatever) you are out after it, you broke the law, you are guilty. The speed limit is 35, you were going 50, you broke the law, you are guilty. What's the difference?

Curfew laws don't make "home" a jail. You don't have to be home. You can be at a friend's house, your grandparent's, whomever's, you just can't be out wandering the streets.

Please read the following link for accurate information about the punishments and exemptions, as well as the actual amount of use of curfew laws.

Denikka - posted on 03/09/2013




I would agree with you. Curfew laws for children seems kind of ridiculous.
What I'm thinking about it how it would be implemented. Say at 10pm, everyone under the age of 20 (or even 18) has to be inside. What about those who have graduated early and are now working (I know more than a few who graduated at 17 and were working night shifts)? What about emancipated minors? What about people in their mid 20s who just look young. How would you even prove that someone was under the restricted age? It would be easy enough to get a fake ID that says you're a little older than you are.

It just seems like a completely unrealistic and pointless rule that has next to no chance of being implemented in a productive way.

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