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Jon Venables back in prison

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Ruby on 04.03.10 17:58

What James Bulger went through is too dreadful to contemplate.
What his mother had (and still has) to cope with is unthinkable.
Yet I still feel enormous pity for Thompson and Venables as young children left, as they were, to bring themselves up, watching 18 cert horror films unaccompanied and unrestricted by adults. That was their 'normality.' They existed in a completely abnormal world with no moral guidance and acted out what they saw like other kids act out age-appropriate stuff they've seen on telly . I do wish they could have been fostered out to families who would have shown them how to live a normal life. I know James didn't get a second chance before anyone says it! I'm not your woolly liberal bleeding heart type normally but this case really got to me.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 18:04

There is some interesting stuff being done at the moment around intensive fostering but obviously these two boys would not have fit the category as they had not offended before and their first was of such magnitude that public opinion would not have stood for an alternative to custody.

http://www.yjb.gov.uk/en-gb/practitioners/ReducingReoffending/IntensiveFostering/

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by vaguely1 on 04.03.10 18:43

@Ruby wrote:What James Bulger went through is too dreadful to contemplate.
What his mother had (and still has) to cope with is unthinkable.
Yet I still feel enormous pity for Thompson and Venables as young children left, as they were, to bring themselves up, watching 18 cert horror films unaccompanied and unrestricted by adults. That was their 'normality.' They existed in a completely abnormal world with no moral guidance and acted out what they saw like other kids act out age-appropriate stuff they've seen on telly . I do wish they could have been fostered out to families who would have shown them how to live a normal life. I know James didn't get a second chance before anyone says it! I'm not your woolly liberal bleeding heart type normally but this case really got to me.

I agree with you. James wouldn't have got a second chance, but he might have got a first one.

Nothing bleeding heart about it - just common sense.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Kololi on 04.03.10 19:45

Hi
I may be wrong and Mr Bennett could probably correct me if I am but I seem to remember that this may have been the case that prompted our age limit for children knowing what they were doing to be reduced to 10 years. I have a sneaking suspicion that previous to this it was higher.

Two cases that I had to study left me with my mouth gaping as both defendants were very young teens and had learning disabilities. This was not taken into account at all as the test to check out their intention to commit criminal damage was objective and made no allowance for their mental ability.

I suppose that occured in Jamie Bulger's case too and pressure of public opinion might have meant no less than the fullest possible punishment available.

The idea of the parents being held responsible in some way too strikes as fair on first impressions although what sort of upbringing did they, themselves, have? Where can you draw a fair line? Somebody with a learning disability should know better but somebody brought up on violent films shouldn't? Sometimes the man on the Clapham omnibus doesn't seem a fair measure to judge people against. All just my opinion though.

Take care

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 19:59

The age of criminal responsibility is 8 in Scotland but this is balanced by the fact that we have the Childrens Hearings System which is designed to be more nurturing I suppose you could say, it's not at all like an adult court, in fact it deals with children at risk as a result of being victims or at risk as a result of having committed offences, equally. It's very child centric.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Kololi on 04.03.10 20:18

Hi Hedge
Blimey 8 is very young indeed.

A few times when we were doing our criminal law area I found myself not believeing what I was hearing because it seemed so harsh when you looked at peoples circumstances. Sometimes it appeared harsh to the victim but these two cases truly left me thinking what a pile of pooh our legal system had dished out to two young people. Under your system in Scotland they might possibly have fared better.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 20:25

@Kololi wrote:Hi Hedge
Blimey 8 is very young indeed.

A few times when we were doing our criminal law area I found myself not believeing what I was hearing because it seemed so harsh when you looked at peoples circumstances. Sometimes it appeared harsh to the victim but these two cases truly left me thinking what a pile of pooh our legal system had dished out to two young people. Under your system in Scotland they might possibly have fared better.

Take care

Only if they had been referred for some reason, I actually don't know a huge amount about the background to these two boys in terms of social work intervention, teachers expressing concern or previous offending. You have to be in the system for the system to have a chance to help you and even then nothing is guaranteed as a few very high profile cases recently have shown.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by vaguely1 on 04.03.10 20:47

@hedge wrote:The age of criminal responsibility is 8 in Scotland but this is balanced by the fact that we have the Childrens Hearings System which is designed to be more nurturing I suppose you could say, it's not at all like an adult court, in fact it deals with children at risk as a result of being victims or at risk as a result of having committed offences, equally. It's very child centric.

Is there not talk of raising this to a higher age at the moment?

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 21:00

@vaguely1 wrote:
@hedge wrote:The age of criminal responsibility is 8 in Scotland but this is balanced by the fact that we have the Childrens Hearings System which is designed to be more nurturing I suppose you could say, it's not at all like an adult court, in fact it deals with children at risk as a result of being victims or at risk as a result of having committed offences, equally. It's very child centric.

Is there not talk of raising this to a higher age at the moment?

There's always talk but yes arguably it should be 12, but what this might mean in practical terms for the Childrens Panels is unclear. I don't personally have a problem with 8, I mean arguably childrens brains are not fully formed and functioning 100% until their early 20s but if we are going to have pre-teen age of criminal responsibility I don't see the harm in it being 8 as long as it is used in conjunction with our more supportive system, I'd never want to see an 8 year old standing in the dock of a court being charged with murder but I suppose technically that could happen... maybe raising it is a failsafe against that?

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by vaguely1 on 04.03.10 21:07

It's interesting, but I think there's a definite transition in children (those that I know) where by 11 they are pretty understanding of consequences of actions on others.....I think kids of all ages have it to a certain extent, but their understanding (conscience??) of it seems to alter around 9/10/11. If they don't have it by 11 then maybe they never get it.

8 though? You kind of wonder how they'd be out and about to do anything criminal...and if they are, then maybe that is an explanation of why they're doing it.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Kololi on 04.03.10 21:11

@hedge wrote:
@vaguely1 wrote:
@hedge wrote:The age of criminal responsibility is 8 in Scotland but this is balanced by the fact that we have the Childrens Hearings System which is designed to be more nurturing I suppose you could say, it's not at all like an adult court, in fact it deals with children at risk as a result of being victims or at risk as a result of having committed offences, equally. It's very child centric.

Is there not talk of raising this to a higher age at the moment?

There's always talk but yes arguably it should be 12, but what this might mean in practical terms for the Childrens Panels is unclear. I don't personally have a problem with 8, I mean arguably childrens brains are not fully formed and functioning 100% until their early 20s but if we are going to have pre-teen age of criminal responsibility I don't see the harm in it being 8 as long as it is used in conjunction with our more supportive system, I'd never want to see an 8 year old standing in the dock of a court being charged with murder but I suppose technically that could happen... maybe raising it is a failsafe against that?

I don't think our brains are fully formed at 22 either. I married my first husband then and on reflection now I am much older, I realise that I was totally brainless at 22.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 21:12

@vaguely1 wrote:It's interesting, but I think there's a definite transition in children (those that I know) where by 11 they are pretty understanding of consequences of actions on others.....I think kids of all ages have it to a certain extent, but their understanding (conscience??) of it seems to alter around 9/10/11. If they don't have it by 11 then maybe they never get it.

8 though? You kind of wonder how they'd be out and about to do anything criminal...and if they are, then maybe that is an explanation of why they're doing it.

You'd be surprised, actually no, you'd be heartbroken if you were to spend a week watching childrens hearings. No wonder they use the same system to deal with the neglected, the abused, the offenders etc they are all the same, if you had to tick a box to say why they are there you'd be ticking all of them: At risk of neglect, beyond control of carers, at risk of abuse, trouble at school, absconding, vandalism, fighting, stealing etc etc. All of them Sad

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 21:13

@Kololi wrote:
@hedge wrote:
@vaguely1 wrote:
@hedge wrote:The age of criminal responsibility is 8 in Scotland but this is balanced by the fact that we have the Childrens Hearings System which is designed to be more nurturing I suppose you could say, it's not at all like an adult court, in fact it deals with children at risk as a result of being victims or at risk as a result of having committed offences, equally. It's very child centric.

Is there not talk of raising this to a higher age at the moment?

There's always talk but yes arguably it should be 12, but what this might mean in practical terms for the Childrens Panels is unclear. I don't personally have a problem with 8, I mean arguably childrens brains are not fully formed and functioning 100% until their early 20s but if we are going to have pre-teen age of criminal responsibility I don't see the harm in it being 8 as long as it is used in conjunction with our more supportive system, I'd never want to see an 8 year old standing in the dock of a court being charged with murder but I suppose technically that could happen... maybe raising it is a failsafe against that?

I don't think our brains are fully formed at 22 either. I married my first husband then and on reflection now I am much older, I realise that I was totally brainless at 22.

Fair point, well made Wink

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Kololi on 04.03.10 21:19

Do you work with children then Hedge?

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by hedge on 04.03.10 21:24

@Kololi wrote:Do you work with children then Hedge?

God no. No offence but I'm not made for it, too soft, don't know how those amazing people manage to switch off at the end of the working day. But I have spent some time around the various systems.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Ruby on 04.03.10 21:26

@hedge wrote:There is some interesting stuff being done at the moment around intensive fostering but obviously these two boys would not have fit the category as they had not offended before and their first was of such magnitude that public opinion would not have stood for an alternative to custody.

http://www.yjb.gov.uk/en-gb/practitioners/ReducingReoffending/IntensiveFostering/

Thanks for posting that link Hedge... a great read and what a truly brilliant idea that is - hope it really takes off.
Especially as they aim to help whole families, abuse is often passed down and this could help break that chain.
clapping

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by twinkle on 04.03.10 21:40

@hedge wrote:
@Kololi wrote:Hi Hedge
Blimey 8 is very young indeed.

A few times when we were doing our criminal law area I found myself not believeing what I was hearing because it seemed so harsh when you looked at peoples circumstances. Sometimes it appeared harsh to the victim but these two cases truly left me thinking what a pile of pooh our legal system had dished out to two young people. Under your system in Scotland they might possibly have fared better.

Take care

Only if they had been referred for some reason, I actually don't know a huge amount about the background to these two boys in terms of social work intervention, teachers expressing concern or previous offending. You have to be in the system for the system to have a chance to help you and even then nothing is guaranteed as a few very high profile cases recently have shown.

True words spoken there. Also to actually get into the system takes some doing.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Kololi on 04.03.10 21:46

Aha - I was going to ask, if you had been involved in childrens' services, whether there appeared to be an increase in the numbers of children needing help for whatever reason, whether it be because of say neglect or whether because more youngsters appeared involved in crimes.

Sometimes it seems to me that our lives are so pressured now and so busy that there isn't time for children to be children anymore. Maybe things are just publicised more now and there was as many children needing support years ago but you never heard about it.

Take care

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by vaguely1 on 07.03.10 8:17

Ooh I hate this. Why can't the Mirror sit on that and let the authorities deal with it first. Crying or Very sad

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 07.03.10 9:15

I am all for making every effort possible to rehabilitate child offenders and providing them with a new identity when they are released from detention. As has already been posted, many of them come from horrific backgrounds where they have had no chance to learn how to develop as decent human beings, so they should be given every opportunity to learn and develop. If the rehabilitation is successful, their new identity should be protected, and Good Luck to them I say for overcoming their rotten start in life. However, if it turns out that Jon Venables is charged with a serious offence, as the newspapers are suggesting, then I think that he should stand trial as Jon Venables. To do otherwise is to let down the general public who have no way of knowing the true extent of his crimes, and to give him an unfair advantage over other adult criminals.
IMO, if Jon Venables has been involved in pornography and commited a sex crime, his rehabilitaion has not been successful. Continuing to protect his identity and provinding him with another identity if his current one is blown is, IMO giving him carte blanche to carry on breaking the law.
In the meantime, the media should not be releasing any details about him and his alleged offences. This just increases public anxiety and hinders a fair trial.

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by vaguely1 on 07.03.10 9:23

The jury in any trial aren't allowed to know about previous convictions, because it can be shown to prejudice a trial.

This is the problem with us even knowing he has been recalled.

If he is unable to receive a fair trial then he may never get to the courts.

Sad

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by Otium on 07.03.10 17:45

It goes without saying that what Thompson and Venables did was abhorrent but I remember thinking at the time that they were only children themselves. I wondered what on earth had happened in their short lives that lead them to commit such evil and it may not be a popular view, but I did feel some pity for them.

I was under what can only be described as a romantic notion that they would be rehabilitated, understand and feel eternal remorse for what they had done and go on to be in some shape or form, useful human beings.

Now, it appears, in the case of Venables at least, that this is far from reality and I truly despair.

For a start, I don't think 8 years was long enough for what they did and I believe also that they should have served some time in adult prison if only to prepare them for the harsh reality of others and the outside world as opposed to the insulated and protected existance they had in the child offenders unit.

Any pity I felt has now been erradicated and I hope they throw the book at him and then some.

However, I genuniely do not understand what purpose it would serve for him to appear in court under his real name?

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Re: Jon Venables back in prison

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 07.03.10 18:17

Hi Otium, the way things stand at the moment, nobody knows the identity of Jon Venables and that is as it should be, but there is widespread interest in who he is and what he has done, fuelled by the media speculation. If he is charged and goes to court under his present identity, there is no way the public are able to know which of all the cases of a similar nature throughout the country is the real Jon Venables. With feelings running as high as they are about this, and the public wanting to find out who he is now, I think there is a danger of some hotheads picking the wrong man out and endangering either the man if he is given bail, or his relatives by attacking them.
Jon Venables is now an adult and should not continue to have his identity protected to the point where yet more people have to suffer for what he has done.

Sorry I am not explaining this very well, but I hope you can understand what I am getting at.

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