Saturday, 15 July 2017


Seventeen-year-old Kyefer (Ed: *rolls eyes*) spends 23-and-a-half hours a day between the four walls of a small cell. In the room is a bed, a shower and a desk. He lies on his bed and does nothing. A meal is delivered three times a day through a slot in the door, which he eats alone. He has no television, and only a few books to keep himself occupied. Since he was referred to Cookham Wood Offenders Institution's Segregation Unit several months ago, the teenager has been receiving no form of regular education. The only stint of daily exercise he gets in the Kent jail is at around 8:30am, when inmates on his wing are allowed half an hour outside.
Gosh! Seems like a while since I've needed this:

Lucky I just got it restringed...

What's he in for, anyway?
Kyefer was sentenced to life at the age of 14 on a joint enterprise conviction for a murder and has been at Cookham Wood since January.
Any normal mother would keep quiet, out of shame at having produced such a monster. But not one from Liverpool.
His mother, Sheena Evelyn, says she was told by his psychologist that his mental state is declining due to the trauma of being separated from his family at a young age and then locked up with no human contact.
If he behaves like a human, he'll be treated like one. Otherwise, he'll be treated like a dangerous animal. Fed, watered, given medical care, but strictly no contact.
“Kyefer has always been an energetic child. Now he always disengaged and depressed. Even when I visit him with his younger siblings, he isn't engaging as well as he used to. This prison is breaking him," says Ms Evelyn. “He’s threatened to take his own life on multiple occasions. Staff have ignored his pleas. It’s falling on deaf ears. Has there got to be a death of one of these boys before something happens?"
There already has been a death, love. Did you forget the actual victim here?


Anonymous said...

Want it discussed in the public domain? Actual details please of the offence for which convicted. Someone is dead in consequence. Other convictions too. And the reason(s) for being segregated this time.


Woman on a Raft said...

This is a very sympathetic account because it is in the Independent.

Essentially, the argument is that Kyefer Dykstra (15) was present when somebody else stabbed the victim. There is no dispute that the stabbing of Sean McHugh was by Reece O'Shaughnessy.

However, the abstracted story, which the Indy cannot ignore but does not highlight, is that the group of boys inclduiding Keyfer, acted as a hunting pack, chasing the quarry in to the launderette, where the killer could come in and dispatch him.

The jury presumably accepted the hunting pack argument and the implication that the boys knew what they were doing, and convicted them on the basis of Joint Enterprise. There are several debates to be had here about general culpability and the specific culpability in his case, and the appropriate punishment of a minor.

The wider point is more divisive: while critics want to see Joint Enterprise abolished, others (like me) think that it is a good scheme which reflects how people think and should be held accountable for things where they have enabled a crime even if they have not been the one to finally commit it.

A minor in prison, however, does have the right to supervision and contact, even if not with fellow inmates. Even if he has to sit in a cage whilst being supervised during reading lessons, that contact must happen. And the Howard League for Collecting Money from the Public should be obliged to fund the contact tutors or lose their charitable status.

The reasons for the segregation are implicit in the account: Keyfer is ADHD which means that he either has to be drugged or else he is a pain with whom the others choose not to interact, or he gets in to fights. The unit seems to be doing the basic job of keeping him safe, but treating him requires specialist skills.

I am certain of one thing though; Keyfer's mother means well but is of no help. He should not be without contact but neither would releasing him do anything to address the behavior and adjustment issues he faces.

The part which really makes me angry is the quote (possibly out of context) by Ben Crew of Cambridge University. The silky implication is that the law is being used in a raaaycist way. However, it could simply be that black gangs are keener on using hunting packs and stabbing their victims than white gangs are. Our 'criminologists' are very bad at facing the cultural basis of crime even when they have the base data.

The Blocked Dwarf said...

@Machill , I assume tis this one:

Anonymous said...

When you have any dealings with the underclass-as I do every day-you soon realise that nothing is their fault. It's very depressing.

Just Trevor said...

Kyefer? WTF? If we administered spelling tests to all 13-year old girls and sterilised the bottom up-for-discussion %, the gene pool might stand a chance of recovering.

Longrider said...

Meanwhile the victim is recovering well and leading an active life... Er, he isn't? Kyfer and his accomplices can rot, then. There was a time when he wouldn't be alive at this point; justice taking a rather more harsh route.

Woman on a Raft said...

How interesting to read the CPS summary which gives the details the Indy leaves out in order to spin it for sympathy. Thank you.

Thud said...

Liverpool does have its problems but by and large it is usually genuine local on local grief and not much of the new crime favoured by are new citizens,I prefer it over London etc anytime.

Anonymous said...

Thanks all for the fuller details.

As to why he is in segregation, it is a last resort measure. I agree ADHD and fighting may be part, but wonder if he is a pain to ensure his attention seeking, amongst many who want the same, is so extreme neither inmates nor officers (insofar as they have a choice) want to interact. Mental health issue or manipulation?


The Blocked Dwarf said...

I agree with WOAR about there being a debate to be had about minors (and personally I felt the lowering of the age of Crim.Rep was a backwards, dickensian, step) but this quote from the CPS link I give above kinda tells us everything we need to know about poor little Kye:
"Corey Hewitt,14, must serve a minimum term of 6 years, Joseph McGill, 14, a minimum term of 9 years, Kyefer Dykstra, 14, a minimum term of 12 years and Andrew Hewitt, 15, a minimum term of 9 years."

Yep, of all the minors in the pack, he was the biggest prize winner with a min.term double the lowest handed out. If we assume M'lord applied a simple mathematical formula of points and prizes, then Kyefer was almost as much to blame for the death of their victim as the Gang Leader who got 18 years.

The Blocked Dwarf said...

One does however feel that the boys' lawyers missed a trick; I mean, come on, a gang of smooth skinned little cherubs take REVENGE on an adult don't need to have a taken even the first semester of Judge Jerry's SUPER AMAZING online DEGREE IN LAW STUFF to have seen the 'grounds for mitigation'...nay complete exoneration staring one in the face. If nothing else, by claiming the big nasty man had touched their little willies, they could have prevented their names ever becoming public(a tactic known in the legal trade , I believe, as 'doing a zip line' i don't get the legal reference either).