A string of violent events led me to write an article on whether teenagers should be banned from malls across New Jersey. Incidents at several malls around Christmastime and more recently at Hamilton Mall in Atlantic County and Thursday night's brawl at Bridgewater Commons brought about the question. Not to mention the social media fueled brawls along the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Then there was the violence at Art All Night in Trenton.

In the comment section, a former Jersey resident who now lives in Oklahoma but still listens on the NJ101.5 app wrote the following.

Screengrab: NJ1015.com
Screengrab: NJ1015.com

Forgive his typos; I'm sure he was writing on a mobile device and in a hurry. About his point though, is he right? Would parents raise better kids if they knew they could go to prison for crimes their children commit? In researching this what I found is all states have some level of Parental Responsibility laws but they seem confined to paying for damage caused by their children's criminal acts. The listener is suggesting something more than monetary compensation. He's saying actual jail time.

Would it work? Even if it did, would it be fair? I say no. While I understand the theory, there are many times peer influence overrides all the hard work a parent has put in and a kid goes bad anyway. It's not a perfect theory to say if you do your best to instill values in your children they will always be stand up citizens. I once knew a family where there were four kids. Three of them grew to be totally respectable teenagers then adults. One of them was in constant trouble with the law. Same parents. Same rules. Same values. Same household.

Yes, there are far too many parents who don't care and won't put forth the effort. But I feel parents like these are so morally bankrupt that the threat of jail time won't speak to them. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if many of these types of parents have already been incarcerated.

However I suspect it might be a popular notion to punish the parent along with the child. A seemingly easy fix to a difficult problem. Take our poll and let us know where you stand.

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