The public wants violent criminals to be locked up. When the criminal is a child who has perpetrated a coldly sadistic act, many people's first instinct is to want that evil banished from the public gaze for a very long time, if not indefinitely.David Wilson:
But when our heads overrule our hearts we want something more. We want children – like the two young brothers from Edlington, near Doncaster, who were sentenced yesterday to indefinite detention for shocking acts of gratuitous violence against two young children – to understand and acknowledge the impact of their actions. We want them to demonstrate genuine contrition. We want them to be changed.
As for thinking of them as "evil" this might bring some form of temporary comfort to many. Labelling them in this way absolves us from having to acknowledge that no child is born "evil" but any child can quickly become socialised into doing awful things – and seeing such behaviour as "normal" – if the only thing that has characterised their upbringing has been abuse and neglect...So, given the relative youth of these two boys, an indeterminate sentence with at least five years is probably about right, and already we have been advised that – removed from the toxic world they were being brought up in – they are responding well. However, we should not expect any quick fixes, nor pander to any knee-jerk demands that their identity should be revealed, or that they should spend the rest of their lives locked up.Loretta Loach:
Some might go so far as to say that it is inappropriate to subject these children to a hearing in a criminal court, let alone issue them with a custodial sentence. Again, like the Bulger case, this raises the question of whether children so young should receive punishment for such crimes when the evidence shows they are profoundly disturbed.Barbara Ellen:
...the "feral underclass" become the human equivalent of toxic waste – people don't care how or where they dump it, so long as it's nowhere near them. However, if we accept this culture of learnt indifference, and that it helps create and sustain social deprivation ghettos, don't we also have to accept the consequences?Who knew a disgusting crime could be the personal springboard for all kinds of social theories?
Indeed, while this case is appalling, it is even more sickening that those who live by "them and us" are the first to make a noise when the trouble starts. Enter Cameron. "Broken Britain"?
Tell the people who've had to live in these areas (some since the Tories were in power) something they don't know.