The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Impulse Control

A report into neuroscience and the law has once again pointed up the dangers of mixing the moral and political with the merely scientific. Scientists have discovered that children and adolescents are less mature than adults, and some have reasoned from this that "the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is unreasonably low, and the evidence of individual differences suggests that an arbitrary cut-off age may not be justifiable", except perhaps from the viewpoint of lynch-mob ethics and prison profitability. As scientists, lawyers and pre-governmental Liberal Democrats we may, of course, deplore such things as moral outrages; but, politics being the art of the possible in a big society which has no very big interest in educating, amusing or employing its offspring, what else is one to do?

On the bright side, a former professor of law at King's College London claims that it is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty or accuracy whether a particular individual will re-offend on leaving prison; which is about as compelling an argument for harsher laws and longer sentences as any socially mature pension-plundering warmonger is likely to require.


  • At 8:14 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    We used to have something called the juvenile justice system that was designed to educate and rehabilitate, which could hold inmates until they were 25. Now we just try children as adults and house them in supermaxes up to life without parole (meaning forever). It's not as expensive as you'd think, because children rarely survive to adulthood that hostile environment.

    This is considered perfectly acceptable by people who excuse their own cruel actions by alleging satanic interference or patriotism or market forces.


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