Is ten too young to face criminal justice?

Is the age of criminal responsibility too low at 10 asks a typical bleeding heart? (Are chidren too young for justice at ten) We think it depends on your point of view. If you think children are old enough at ten to know it is very very naughty to torture toddlers and small furry animals then obviously you disagree with the writer. If on the other hand you think every male child has a right to try a bit of rape without having to face legal sanction then you will support the writer and would vote for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised to sixteen. Remember, already the authorities exclude crimes committed by the under sixteens from the “recorded” crime figures.

UPDATED 14:42 Feb12, 2009
Criminal Justice is not the awesome force it once was, far more fearsome are the disciplinary tribunrals convened and overseen by the Politically Correct Thought Police. In the same way as during the witch hunts of the seventeenth century the word of a gentleman was sufficient evidence on which to secure a conviction, now the word of a “right – on” person is sufficient to prove a case “beyond resonable doubt.” The case of a head teacher who referred to female staff as his harem is a good illustration of how mercilessly efficient the Politically Correct Thought Police can be.

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7 thoughts on “Is ten too young to face criminal justice?

  1. Are parents who don’t teach their ten year olds that cruelty is wrong criminally culpable? Possibly.

    And why do teachers etc. have to have degrees and CRB checks when any immoral know-nothing has the “right” to have children of their own to mistreat and bring up badly? I was boiling mad over a local paper report of a pregnant woman jailed for dealing in heroin, whose “six other children had already been taken into care” at some time in the past.

    I guess she has the right to live like that and get the taxpayer to keep her benighted children, and now to be kelp in prison and supplied with drugs. Sterilisation is too good for some people – though we arne’t supposed to say that, are we?


    1. Lois,
      I don’t think it’s a case of simply holding parents responsible, parents cannot supervise their children all the time and the crimes are not always committed by the poorest children.

      I’m a great believer in personal responsibility, as Bob Dylan put it, “You have to be honest to live outside the law,”

      Too often though we hear of very young children being involved in extermely bad crimes, arson, cruelty, etc. and I cannot accept that at ten they do not know what they are doing is wrong.


      1. I agree with you on both points. Feckless parenting is not confined to the poor: but my main point (like yours) is that we need to take responsibility for our actions – and that includes bringing up our children properly. I know they are not always in our control – but I think those kids who think that extreme cruelty is OK either have a personality disorder, or have been brought up in an environment where such behaviour is acceptable or not remarked on. They must have at least a hint that such attitudes are not societal norms unless they are really damaged. And so I agree that at ten (and probably younger) most “normal” children have a pretty shrewd idea of right and wrong, even if they choose not to exercise it responsibly.


  2. I’m afraid I fit under the ‘bleeding heart’ category here.

    A child is a child.

    If a child carries out awful sickening acts then it is obviously very badly disturbed.

    No child does such things unless they are disturbed.

    What is the point of putting a disturbed child through the criminal justice system?

    It won’t deter similar acts by others – disturbed people rarely consider the consequences of what they do and the fact that someone was previously punished won’t make a blind bit of difference.

    It won’t help the victim. The victim will be required also to go through the criminal justice system and be further damaged by that experience.

    It won’t help the disturbed perpetrator. It might even make them worse.

    It won’t serve ‘justice’ – you can’t get justice by wreaking revenge on a disturbed child.

    What needs to happen is for the disturbed child to be taken into secure confinement and prevented from behaving the same way in the future.

    If it is possible (and often it isn’t) they need to be rehabilitated.

    But alas, the real need is for children to be properly cared for in the first place – which means parents need to be able to parent their children instead of being pressured into placing kids far too early into competitive environments where they learn how to bite, kick, scratch and fight their way to the top of the pile instead of being nurtured and taught how to empathise.

    Again, probably too late for more than one generation by now. The seeds of psychopathy have been sown strongly and containment is all that can be sensibly achieved.

    But, not through the criminal system – unless it is to prosecute the parents and authorities who should be carrying out their duties, which would have prevented the crime taking place in the first instance. If that happened earlier on in the cycle that might achieve some good results.


  3. Banana,
    The person behind the poll I link to is a former head of the youth justice system and knows very well children are not dealt with in adult courts but in special courts. What I think this person is up to trying to engineer a vast expansion of the care in the community system that did such a great job for Victoria Climbie and Baby P. and others and that has assiduously recruited and provided careers for so many known child abusers.

    James Campbell, elder brother of a boy who was at school with my son, when aged 12 raped and beat to death an elderly woman. He was released aged 20, having been “rehabilitated” but raped two more women, killing one of them. His younger brother Paul told my son (they were grown up by then) that James was not mad, he just got a buzz out of making people suffer.

    The boys and their sister Magella came from a bad home, Dad was a drunk, mother was a slut, but Paul and Magella did OK. Though Paul has been in his fair share of trouble, burglary, car theft etc. when he was younger he is quite a likeable sort of rogue.

    When dealing with young criminals (as opposed to naughhty children who simply overstep the mark) we have to err on the side of caution – and on the side of possible future victims.

    It’s a cruel world.


    1. I think we probably agree on what should be done but disagree on how to get there.

      No one should be considered ‘rehabed’ when they are obviously psychopathic.

      Psychopaths cannot be rehabbed as that guy’s brother said they aren’t mad – they are differently wired. It can’t be fixed and that’s that. they need to be taken out of society and kept from causing any more harm.

      I don’t think the criminal system is the way to do it though. Certainly ‘in the community’ is never the way to do it. These people are not of the community they are outside it and always will be.


  4. “we have to err on the side of caution – and on the side of possible future victims.” – I agree Ian. I made a post a while back about the horrific and tragic case of James Bulger (<a href=""James (Jamie) Bulger) and in reading about the evil (yes, evil) slaying of a boy – who happened to be James at the hands of Venebles and Thompson, I get the feeling that they too have this 'buzz' of doing irreversible harm to people. And I don't think that for these people that buzz goes away – I've not heard ANY arguements suggesting it does, and the re-offending suggests that it persists.

    P.S. sorry for 3-posting before – don’t know how it happened!


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