Thursday, February 15, 2007

One of the big stories of today is that an 11 year old boy is being threatened with prison due to being a bully.

As a bit of background I should probably add that I was bullied myself as a teenager. It was of the psychological, exlcuding type rather than the physical type but just as painful none the less. And yes, all these years on I would still find it difficult to fully forgive those who were responsible.

I am firmly of the opinion that when dealing with any kind of bad behaviour whether that is childish spats or serious violent crime, is that the victim must be protected as a priority. That must come first. If that means keeping the perpetrator away from others who they may harm then that is what we have to do and in the adult world that is essentially what prisons are for.

However we are talking about an 11 year old child here. Someone who has not fully developed mentally or emotionally, some one who has some way to go, some one who still has a chance. Prisons by their very nature concentrate the worst elements of society and deprive them of good influences. They may help protect us from those inside them but they do little or nothing for those inside them, reoffending rates of those imprissoned compared to those who are not tell their own story. To imprison someone at this age may well deny him any chance he still has.

I am not fully familiar with the details of this case, I am sure he must have done something pretty nasty to be threatened with prison at that age, but this is the 21sy century. To talk about encacerating a child like this smacks of desperation and a desire for vengence rather that solutions. I am deeply uncopmfortable with the whole thing and I would hope that you are too.


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Rebecka said...

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On the bullying thing, I think the worst I ever suffered was when I was in year 3 and the year 6 boys threw me in the river that ran next to the school. I agree though, at that age they need the chance to grow up amongst the good elements of society...