Scandal of the children locked up in 'adult' jails


jjw1965
#1
THE INDEPENDENT

By Sophie Goodchild, Home Affairs Correspondent
Published: 04 September 2005

Hardline measures to curb anti-social behaviour are to blame for an unprecedented rise in the number of children, especially young girls, being sent to jail. A memo written by the Government's youth justice chief and leaked to The Independent on Sunday reveals that the number of teenagers in custody has soared over the past three months, with figures now at a three-year high - with a serious risk of suicide and self-harm.

In a personal warning to the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, Ellie Roy, the chief executive of the Youth Justice Board, says that overcrowding has led to large numbers of juveniles ending up in prison-run institutions, which she warns are not appropriate for vulnerable children, and that some 18-year-olds may even have to be sent to adult jails if the situation continues.

In the document sent last week to ministers and prison chiefs, Ms Roy expresses concern that the rise is partly down to the accelerated use of anti-social behaviour orders that have been trumpeted by ministers as a successful measure in tackling persistent offending by young delinquents and keeping them out of jail.

This came in the same week that Tony Blair launched a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, including court powers to impose curfews on at-risk teenagers who have yet to commit an offence and a taskforce set up to improve respect for others in society.

However, prison reform groups have attacked the Government for resorting to quick-fix measures and for not tackling the causes of youth offending.The Howard League for Penal Reform said the Government had to take responsibility for any deaths of children in jails.

"The result of locking up increasing numbers of children is that it exacerbates anti-social behaviour because 90 per cent will come out and commit a crime," said Frances Crook, its director.

"The first thing he [Mr Blair] does after his holiday is to target children."

Hardline measures to curb anti-social behaviour are to blame for an unprecedented rise in the number of children, especially young girls, being sent to jail. A memo written by the Government's youth justice chief and leaked to The Independent on Sunday reveals that the number of teenagers in custody has soared over the past three months, with figures now at a three-year high - with a serious risk of suicide and self-harm.

In a personal warning to the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, Ellie Roy, the chief executive of the Youth Justice Board, says that overcrowding has led to large numbers of juveniles ending up in prison-run institutions, which she warns are not appropriate for vulnerable children, and that some 18-year-olds may even have to be sent to adult jails if the situation continues.

In the document sent last week to ministers and prison chiefs, Ms Roy expresses concern that the rise is partly down to the accelerated use of anti-social behaviour orders that have been trumpeted by ministers as a successful measure in tackling persistent offending by young delinquents and keeping them out of jail.
This came in the same week that Tony Blair launched a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, including court powers to impose curfews on at-risk teenagers who have yet to commit an offence and a taskforce set up to improve respect for others in society.

However, prison reform groups have attacked the Government for resorting to quick-fix measures and for not tackling the causes of youth offending.The Howard League for Penal Reform said the Government had to take responsibility for any deaths of children in jails.

"The result of locking up increasing numbers of children is that it exacerbates anti-social behaviour because 90 per cent will come out and commit a crime," said Frances Crook, its director.

"The first thing he [Mr Blair] does after his holiday is to target children."
 
Hard-Luck Henry
#2
Before coming to power, Blair used to talk about being "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime." Once in power he goes down the familiar route of the reactionary, pandering to the public's worst instincts and appeasing voters unfounded fears. It doesn't matter that he's ruining lives, and making the situation worse for a great many people, just as long as he gets the required headlines and is seen to be 'doing something'. Tosser.
 
Cosmo
#3
Blair's politics aside, I think the idea of doing something with delinquents is a good idea. Ok, I'm not a parent, never had the urge to listen to the patter of little feet, share my toys or pay for someone's education. I admit I'm self centred and aware enough of it to not have brought a child into the world. Perhaps that colours my view some, but this is a topic I've given considerable thought to.

Too many kids are doing heinous things. And getting away with it. Gender is not an issue, although traditionally society has not been able to bring itself to understand females can be as dangerous and predatory as males. Maybe we don't kill as often, but I suspect we'll see that trend changing too.

We have a crop of children that are out of control. The fault does not lie with these kids, but that doesn't prevent the solution from falling there. Poverty, violence, bad parenting, simple bad mental wiring ... there are many causes, but the result is the same. Violent kids.

My nephew was raised in horrifying conditions and became one of those predators. He beat my mother nearly to death, causing her to lose her home and health. We're now working on finding assisted living for her. Since she wouldn't admit it was him, there were no consequences. He is one of those kids that, by unfortunate circumstance, never had a chance. Pity is in order, but he still needs to be locked up before he kills someone.

Regular jail isn't a good solution, but until society catches up with the reality of teen violence, it is the only solution.

I have hard line opinions on this stuff. All the fluffy, do-gooder solutions in the world aren't going to work. I used to be one of those people who thought every kid could be saved. It just ain't so.
 
jjw1965
#4
Good point! Cosmo, I always wondered though, In America we get in trouble for spanking our children in public, They took corporal punishment out of the schools, I'm not saying we should beat our kids, I love both of my boys, but I know they can be a real pain in my *** sometimes. It seems the quickest way to the brain is through the ***! A lot of parents don't discipline their children anymore, and here in Ohio parents can go to jail for their kids not going to school. I just think by taking these things away they have no fear anymore. so rebellion sets in.
 
Cosmo
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by jjw1965

A lot of parents don't discipline their children anymore, and here in Ohio parents can go to jail for their kids not going to school.

In my opinion that isn't taken far enough. I think parents of kids under a certain age (say somewhere around 13) who commit crimes should suffer the same punishment as the kids. That may seem harsh, but it would be one way to motivate those inadequate parents toward learning proper skills. And if parents knew they were going to be legally responsible for the actions of their offspring, I wonder if that might not prove some deterrant to teen pregnancy? As it is, people and reproduce and unleash their ill behaved offspring on the world without consequence.

I know for sure that good parenting makes good kids. I know many, many good parents who have either been fortunate enough to come from stable familes and know how to parent or have learned the skills required so that they do right by their kids.

If a person isn't willing to iron out their own kinks and quirks, to do the self work required to be a good parent, they shouldn't have them.

Again, though, that comes from a non-parent. I might sing a different tune if I'd had kids. It is easy to be an armchair critic.
 
Nascar_James
#6
If kids are guilty of adult crimes (i.e murder, rape, drug dealing), then they should be tried as adults and deal with the consequences. Treating young criminals with kid gloves does not work and actually encourages them to repeat their offenses knowing the punishment is minor.

As for parents being responsible for their kids crimes, we would need to look at this on a case by case basis. Example... some parents repeatedly try to discipline their kids with no luck. Some kids tell their folks to @@@@ @ff and kiss their @@s. In these situations, where the problem is clearly not with the parents, no matter how young, the parents should not be held liable for their kids actions. I guess they can be charged for not placing their kids in foster homes if they knew they would not be able to handle them. However, if the authorities force the removal of unruly kids and place them in foster homes, then the foster homes should similarly be held equally responsible for any actions by the kids.
 
no1important
#7
Quote:

They took corporal punishment out of the schools

actually it is legal in 22 states still. Mostly in the Southern Bible Belt (Imagine that). It should be banned period.

Quote:

I'm not saying we should beat our kids, I love both of my boys, but I know they can be a real pain in my *** sometimes. It seems the quickest way to the brain is through the ***!

Well that statement is very contridictory. Obviously by the way you right you were hit (unfortunatly)growing up. I feel very sorry you had to go through that growing up, I really mean that, I am also disturbed that you have to think, resorting to hitting is a way to control your kids.

There are alternative things you could do. People hit because it is easy, quick and because they do not know any better, as that was the way they were raised. They also hit when they are angry and therefore take out their frustrations on their children.

It is a short term solution that carries long term consequences. There is not one "non religious" study that points to hitting children as being benificial. Quite the opposite actually. Kids who are hit have a better chance ending up in jail, committing suicide, committing domestic abuse, etc.

The favourite cop out for pro hitters is: I was hit growing up and I turned out ok. My reply is

When Sweden banned Spanking in the late 70's, you know what happened? Domestic abuse went down.

Current Countries where this barbarian act is banned:

Sweden (1979)
Finland (1983)
Norway (1987)
Austria (1989)
Cyprus (1994)
Italy (1996)
Denmark (1997)
Latvia (199
Croatia (1999)
Bulgaria (2000)
Germany (2000)
Israel (2000)
Iceland (2003)
Ukraine (2004)
Romania (2004)
Portugal (2004)
Hungary (2005)
Last updated July 2005

In addition, in Belgium in 2000 a new clause was added to the Constitution confirming children's right to moral, physical, psychological and sexual integrity; its legal effect is unclear and an explicit ban on all corporal punishment is under consideration.

In Canada Supreme Court Rules only children 3-12 could be hit and only hit with open hand on buttocks. No belts, sticks etc. Hitting 13 and over is prohibited as is slapping any child in the face/head.(They should of outrighted banned it)

I am also very proud to say since that ruling came down in 2004 I had 4 people convicted and 7 arrested for slapping their kids in the head, when I have been out and about. I keep a copy of the ruling with me, as that gives the local police no choice (believe it or not, not all constables know this ruling) but to arrest them and charge them with common assault. I have video phone and take license numbers as well (incase they try to leave) any other witness's. Some people think I am nuts but I stand by my beliefs and I have seen results of "spanking".

I work (volounteer) with abused kids and have done so for many years. Every Tuesday evening and Saturday mornings. Many of them are screwed up bad. It is very sad. I also believe it is my cause to help victims of abuse, spanking, hitting or whatever one calls it. Its all the same to me.

Some links-

Here
here
here
here
here

Yes I belong to some of those groups and others. I know I may be seen as a crazy leftie, but I have been called worse.

Agree or disagree with me thats fine, but those are my views and I am sticking to them.
 
Nascar_James
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by no1important

Quote: They took corporal punishment out of the schoolsactually it is legal in 22 states still. Mostly in the Southern Bible Belt (Imagine that). It should be banned period.
Quote: I'm not saying we should beat our kids, I love both of my boys, but I know they can be a real pain in my *** sometimes. It seems the quickest way to the brain is through the ***!In Canada Supreme Court Rules only children 3-12 could be hit and only hit with open hand on buttocks. No belts, sticks etc. Hitting 13 and over is prohibited as is slapping any child in the face/head.(They should of outrighted banned it)
I am also very proud to say since that ruling came down in 2004 I had 4 people convicted and 7 arrested for slapping their kids in the head, when I have been out and about. I keep a copy of the ruling with me, as that gives the local police no choice (believe it or not, not all constables know this ruling) but to arrest them and charge them with common assault. I have video phone and take license numbers as well (incase they try to leave) any other witness's. Some people think I am nuts but I stand by my beliefs and I have seen results of "spanking".
I work (volounteer) with abused kids and have done so for many years....

Quote has been trimmed
Some of us folks on the right also disagree against using physical force to punish children. I am one of those who believes in using other means such as no video games, no TV, no cell phone, no go going out with friends. The duration of the punishment depending on the severity of what has been done. Using physical force as punishment does not work, and any adult striking a minor for any reason is unacceptable. In addition, it would not be too affective for kids trained in martial arts, wrestling, judo ...etc). They would surely fight back, rightfully so.
 
Cosmo
#9
no1important ... Most excellent comment and links.

I agree unequivocally. No hitting. I wouldn't even hit my dog until she decided biting me was acceptable. Being an animal and not a child, we ended up settling it physically once. Funny thing, though, a quiet, calm approach works 99.9% of the time, even with terriers!

I grew up in a home that did not spare the rod (or fists or whatever other weapon was a hand). I grew up with violence and became violent. I became innured to violence, it was acceptable to me.

It took an extraordinary amount of work on my part to grow past my family history. The only situation in which I could imagine raising a hand to any other human being today would be in self defence. Ok, or if I caught my spouse in bed with someone. But other than that, it is no longer an acceptable to my psyche.

The really good parents I know almost never spank their kids, and certainly not after they have reached an age at which they can be reasoned with. It just isn't done. Your comments are exactly the kind of thing people need to think about before they bring children into the world. It's precisely what I meant.

The problem is that lots of kids have grown up with violence in the home and have already begun down that path. How do we deal with that?
 

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