Criminalising Children

Mental Health Cop

When is it acceptable to criminalise a child who is already detained under the Mental Health Act within our secure mental health system?

I asked this question on Twitter and it did amaze me, quite frankly, that I didn’t get a single reply saying ‘never’.  It surprises me that no-one thought that – but that’s our cultural heritage for you and we need to see it in those terms. I remember a lecture on comparative criminology when I did my MSc in which Prof David NELKEN was talking about the difficulties in comparing criminological and legal approaches to the kind of deviance we call ‘crime’.  Citing the Jamie BULGER murder, he pointed out that there have been murders in Europe where children have killed other children and the criminal justice system was barely involved, not least because the killers were not old enough to bear legal responsibility for their actions…

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