Friday, March 19, 2010

What about Child Criminals?

What about child criminals?

In the programme Question Time tonight, there was discussion about whether the legal age for criminality should be raised from 10yrs to 12yrs.

I don't think it should be raised. At the age of 10, children know right from wrong – or they should do. On 12th February 1993, two 10yr old boys tortured and killed a two year old boy, James Bulger. The case is in the news again because Jon Venables has breached the conditions of his parole and has been returned to prison. It was a crime that horrified people everywhere. I was in South Africa then, and I remember being appalled at the story.

But even before Venables was returned to prison, there was another horrifying case where two boys tortured and brutalised two innocent boys, one of whom was perilously close to death. The attack went on for more than 90 minutes, and it only stopped because their arms were aching. They claim they did it because they had nothing to do and were bored. At the hearing, the News said that much of the things done and injuries caused will never be made public because they were so horrific. If you want to look up the appalling story of the Edlington boys, see HERE

Their family background was shocking. They were given cannabis and vodka and access to violent porn and demonic horror movies by their parents. After the vicious attacks this is the quote "The mother of the brothers has denied any responsibility for their alleged actions.

They had been living with foster parents after their mother told social services she could not control them. Yesterday, she told The Sun newspaper: 'It's got nowt to do with me - they weren't even in my care." That is a quote from THIS page.

The Edlington boys had a dreadful family background , but they must have known that violent torture sustained for 90 minutes to the point that one child was perilously close to death, the other severely injured, and the attack filmed to relive the fun of it later, was wrong.  Those children and their families were so traumatised that they can never be the same.  Their whole lives from now on will be divided into 'before' and 'after'.  The physical injuries will heal, but the mental injuries won't.  How can they?

So yes, I think that children who commit depraved and vicious crimes such as torture or murder should definitely be imprisoned. But I would not stop there. I would put the parents in prison too for failing to bring their children up with normal values. You can't feed children cannabis and vodka and allow them to watch demonic and violent porn and expect them to grow up with normal and acceptable values and behaviour. And that failure lands squarely on the parents doorstep. They have created monsters by their lifestyles and that has caused immeasurable suffering to innocent children and their families.

I am not suggesting this for minor crime such as stealing sweets from the corner shop, but for the serious crimes like Thompson and Venables committed, and the ones the boys from Edlington committed. Give those parents rocks and hammers and tell them to make gravel for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for years on years. These gravel making parents should be interviewed by the press periodically so that their miserable lives stay in the public mind as a deterrent to other bad parents.

If the parents of this sort of criminal were put in prison with hard labour for a long time, I'm confident that there would be fewer of these young thugs. I bet those parents would rediscover the need for consistent parental teaching, responsibility, accountability and discipline pretty fast.  And why not hold parents responsible and culpable for persistent anti social behaviour?  If the parents had to suffer consequences, would they not exercise more control over their children, even if only from self interest?

If people want to have children, they must bring them up responsibly.  If they don't, they should feel the consequences alongside those children that they have so spectacularly failed.


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