Summary: Lessons From The Bulger Case

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CHILDREN & SOCIETY VOLUME 15 (2001) pp. 272±274 DOI: 10.1002/chi.688 Policy Review Lessons from the Bulger Case y the time this article is read the furore surrounding the parole and release on licence of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables may have subsided. We still need to address and learn from the key policy issues that surround the aftermath of the death of James Bulger. The media has presented these issues as a con¯ict between the rights of James Bulger's family to justice and the rights of Thompson and Venables to rehabilitation. It is as though one must cancel out the other. Many journalists have also commented that the welfare-based philosophy and care available in the local authority secure units in which the boys were placed…show more content…
E-mail: wmcmahon@ncb.org.uk Copyright # 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Lessons from the Bulger Case 273     public resentment and sell newspapers. They are in fact taking advantage of the bereaved. Age of criminal responsibility. In England and Wales, the age of criminal responsibility is tenÐmuch lower than that in most European countries where a welfare-based system is in place to deal with young offenders. The abolition of doli incapax as part of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act has further increased the tendency to treat children as though they are adults. Though a ten-year-old may understand the difference between right and wrong, he does not necessarily fully appreciate the implications of what he has done. Capacity and competence relate to age, maturity and understanding and should be considered in any trial where a child is the defendant. Trial in adult court. The 1999 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgment supported appeals made on behalf of Thompson and Venables that their trialÐwhich took…show more content…
1995. Children and violence: report of the Gulbenkian Foundation Commission. Gulbenkian Foundation: London. Home Of®ce. 2001. The Halliday report: making punishments workÐreview of the sentencing framework for England and Wales. Copyright # 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. CHILDREN & SOCIETY Vol. 15, 272±274 (2001) Copyright of Children & Society is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual
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