The boys, now aged 11 and 12, have been given indeterminate sentences, which means that they can be incarcerated forever, if those with a say in the matter decide that this is appropriate. Yet far from questioning whether this sentence is too imprecise and too draconian to be handed down to minors, those pushing for an appeal were upset that the tariff – which decrees that the boys can be considered for release after they have served five years – is too lenient.That might be because no-one has any faith in the authorities who keep releasing dangerous offenders...
Even more surprising is that these criticisms came from groups styling themselves as children's rights campaigners.Gosh, yes. That’s a puzzle, isn’t it?
Let me think: why would a group wish to protect other, normal children from the depredations of these two little monsters?
It is a horrible thought: that these two tiny victims of violence that few people will experience even a fraction of in their lives, might be haunted by nightmares about the unpredictable future as well as the unchangeable past.But obviously, not as horrible as the thought that these two apprentice torturers might have to bear some consequences...
But it is also a horrible thought that the boys who did this to them could, just could, come, quite quickly, to a genuine and profound understanding of what they did, and why it was so far beyond the pale. Would it really be productive, if they had come to experience genuine sorrow and contrition about their actions, for them to count off many years in adult prisons, brooding about the new perspectives they would have developed about the abusive start they had to their own lives, and the horror its legacy visited on others, before they could be said to have "paid their debt to society"?There's a lot of 'ifs' and 'coulds' in there Deborah. Tell you what, why don't you take the chance. After their five years is up, they should come live with or near you. How about that?
It has already been established that Doncaster Council's children's services, under whose watch these children's lives were left blighted, had been in an awful state for years.Oh, right. Society failed these children. You and me. Even though we've never heard of them, it's all our fault...
That's what "society" did for these children – nothing like enough to save them from themselves, let alone from others.
All four of the young boys involved in this case were let down by the adult society that allowed this to happen.No, they were let down by the state authorities that promise up they will do amazing things for us, if we just fork over most of our pay packet. When in reality, what they mostly do is hold useless meetings and find ways to pass the buck when the shit finally hits the fan.
Indeterminate sentences, introduced by Labour and seized on with enthusiasm by judges, say something very harsh and very important about human psychological development, and how close society has come, silently, to acknowledging how awry it can go. Until recently, only the insane could be detained indefinitely. Everyone else was considered able to comprehend their guilt, and expected to serve the time deemed commensurate with their crime.How awfully, terribly barbaric! How much better off we are now, in the age of no responsibility for anything, right Deborah?
… no child can be clinically diagnosed as psychopathic. A child showing psychopathic symptoms is diagnosed as having "conduct disorder". Intervention during childhood, it is reckoned, can be effective, in a way that intervention at a time when the brain is fully developed cannot.Only if prison is only ever about rehabilitation. But it's not. There's an element of punishment in there too (at least, there's supposed to be) and also an element of 'public protection', though at the moments that's creaking at the seams.
In other words, the five-year tariff for these boys is clinically crucial.
It is the window during which they can make real progress, if they are capable of real progress at all. If their minds cannot be changed in the next five years, then their minds are unlikely ever to be changed.There’s a lot of caveats in there again. And I say again: would you be happy to take the chance?
Or are you, like most bleeding hearts, happy for everyone else to take the chance, so you can feel warm and fuzzy inside, and congratulate your like-minded coterie at Islington dinner parties on how progressive and forward-thinking the justice system is in the UK?
It's not just social deprivation. It's brain damage; brain damage caused by the twin psychological cancers of childhood neglect and abuse, which thrive best in socially and economically jettisoned areas, like Edlington.It isn't deprivation that causes the savagery inflicted by these two junior psychopaths. If it was, you'd need an armed escort to safely travel most of the Labour heartlands, wouldn't you?