I read (Daily Mail mainly) that someone ‘in government’ has suggested that the age of criminal responsibility be set at 16 years of age. It is currently 10 years and attempts are being made to raise it to 12. Just to set things in perspective, this means that the killers of Jamie Bulger would have escaped trial and punishment. In addition to the free-under-16 idea, there is mention that the majority of young offenders come from broken homes.
Home Office research this year showed that one in four boys between 10 and 17 are 'serious or prolific' offenders - a figure that suggests there are half a million boys engaged in burglary, robbery, drug dealing and other serious offences. The report said that a presumption that children are incapable of understanding right from wrong should run until the age of 16. "This would allow for the gradual and highly variable process of moral development in children," it said.
There should be 'normal immunity from prosecution' until 16. Instead, offenders should be dealt with through "family conferencing, restorative justice and youth offender panels".
Family conferencing means talking to an offender with his family; restorative justice involves the offender apologising to and making amends to the victim; and youth offender panels handle probation and rehabilitation schemes. Of course, one first has to get the little scrote to recognise and admit that he was even responsible for what happened. If he denies it, he cannot be put on trial to see if he is a wrongdoer.
Well now – isn’t that all very nice. Where is the ‘man’ who said they would be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime? Some little sewer rate will get someone older to read the legislation to him and will be away as the Al Capone of the high-rise world. The police will encourage crime reports to reflect that the offender was a small wee bstard thus allowing them to lose interest as not much more than an interview with hyper-activity sticky drinks and Wagon Wheels will result.
I hold to the theory that some people are just evil. They are born evil and will die evil. Nothing that happens in between will cure them or deter or divert them from their wickedness. These Omen-kids will not be detected until they are sufficiently developed mentally and physically to be a real threat to us all. The idea that under-16s lack the capability to understand right from wrong is clearly fatuous. If need be, teach them by showing them what happens when they put their hand in the fire. Modern parents withdraw from many of the things they should teach their kids and this proposal will only encourage them more in this laziness.