Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Britons wonder why young people commit brutal crimes?

Well take this case..

A thirteen year old boy attacked a 20 year old woman, in front of his two friends aged 10 and 11 (who told him to stop).

According to the Daily Telegraph "He subjected her to a severe beating then screamed at her: “Do what I say or I'll kill you”, before raping her".

The details are rather horrible, he stole her mobile phone and ipod. When he answered a call on it from her boyfriend, she bragged to him about what he did.

He now has only three years in a young offenders institution because he showed remorse. Well any good defence lawyer would have advised that. No doubt the Edlington case attackers were advised similarly, but are so psychopathic and incompetent to be incapable of following instruction.

So why did he get only three years? Well "By law, anyone under 18 years old faces a lesser sentence for rape than an adult, and for those aged 14 or under the term is reduced further".

Excuse me? So the message is, if you want to rape someone, do it before you are 18 because you'll get treated more leniently? So you can have a laugh, wreck someone's life and then get just a few years.

No. Just because you might have a smaller penis is not a reason to regard rape by someone under 18 as less of an offence. Is it because the victim is older?

You see the maximum sentence for rape in the UK is life imprisonment (which is absurd, as it means you may as well murder the victim as well). However, for a minor it is five years (worth noting that had the woman had consensual sex with the boy she would have faced 14 years).

In the UK it would appear that as long as you are under 18, you're given licence to be brutal and get a relatively light sentence, having terrorised your victim. It is one thing to give young offenders who commit property offences or minor assaults a second chance, another for premeditated attacks that are of the kind most women fear.

However, it demonstrates the dichotomy in criminal justice policy and public attitudes. At 13 when someone shows the capability and capacity to rape and commit violent assault, it also shows the capability and capacity to take an adult punishment, before being given a second chance to live a different life. Conversely, life sentences for adult rape are absurd and perverse, unless it is an ongoing process of preventive detention after someone has demonstrated recidivism.

So while the message should be that rape is unacceptable by any measure, it is warped by the subtext "unless you're an under 18 year old rapist, then it's not that bad".

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