I Am Going to Discuss the Issues Essay Example
I Am Going to Discuss the Issues Essay Example

I Am Going to Discuss the Issues Essay Example

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My essay will discuss the minimum age at which children are considered criminally responsible and the factors affecting their development. In England, Wales, and Ireland, the minimum age is 10 years old, while in Scotland it is lowered to 8 years old.

Madge's 'Children In These Days' (2006) raises concerns about the current age limit for criminal responsibility, which is 10 years old. It is surprising that both children and adults (86% combined) believe this age is too young to hold children responsible for their actions. According to statistics from Morris (2009), in November, there were around 2,900 individuals under the age of 18 who were in custody in England and Wales.

The number of children in custody has remained stable for several years and is currently twice as high as it was in the


early 1990s, surpassing rates in Europe. The ongoing discussion revolves around whether it is premature to incarcerate children as young as ten years old. Critics contend that children have to wait until they are sixteen to finish schooling or marry, and until they are eighteen to gamble or watch movies; thus, why should they be held responsible for their actions at age ten?

There is a debate about whether the current age for holding individuals responsible for crimes is too low. Professor Rod Morgan, who previously led the Youth Justice Board, advocates for increasing the age at which children can be put in prison. He argues that many young individuals are becoming involved in legal proceedings and being detained at an early stage in life (Morris 2009). Ultimately, it comes down to determining if a 10-year-old child understands the

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difference between right and wrong.

The legal concept of Doli incapax states that children aged ten to thirteen lack the ability to understand right and wrong in criminal cases. As a result, they cannot be held accountable for committing crimes due to their lack of criminal intent (Walsh 1998). Nevertheless, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 overturned this rule by asserting that children within this age range do possess an understanding of moral responsibility.

There is a consensus among many individuals that the act mentioned should be abolished. This view is supported by the 1993 case of James Bulger, where two ten-year-olds named Jon Venables and Robert Thompson abducted and killed two-year-old James after abusing him. They were found guilty of murder and became the youngest individuals ever convicted of this crime in English Criminal history. Peel (1999) reports that both perpetrators received eight-year sentences.

It would have caused public outrage if the boys did not receive a prison sentence, given their young age of 10 and their awareness of their actions. Former Home Secretary Michael Howard believed that a 10-year sentence was appropriate. He stressed that children are only detained as a last resort, after all other options have been tried, and they typically receive a warning from the police before the matter goes to court (Lord Geoff 1998).

The debate centers around whether it is more important to prioritize addressing the mental health issues in children or incarcerating them. Those in favor argue that if a child has been attending school from an early age, they should have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. They believe that there may have been

no other options available when dealing with Bulger's murderers. However, opponents argue that raising the age limit could potentially lead to troubled youth not receiving the necessary help.

Parents, peers, and the media all have a substantial influence on children's behavior, with both positive and negative outcomes. Among these factors, parents hold a crucial position as they are the ones who spend the most time with their children. Stephens (2004) suggests that if children grow up in households where their parents smoke, they are more likely to adopt similar behaviors like smoking, engaging in teenage pregnancy, perpetrating domestic violence, and receiving inadequate education.

However, some people may find that children who are not at home are often more influenced by their peers. During adolescence, parents often worry about the friends their children choose and the negative peer pressure they may face (Steinberg ; Silverberg 1986). For example, teenagers may learn from their peers rather than their parents that beer or marijuana can enhance a party (Prinstein, Dodge 2008).

Despite typically being viewed in a negative way, peers can actually have a positive impact on children. Prinstein and Dodge suggest that peer influence can involve constructive efforts like encouragement and supporting someone in engaging in healthy activities (2008). Singer (2001) questions whether watching television can also lead to positive influences, such as enhancing school readiness and promoting values of cooperation, sharing, and civility. A recent study discovered that "Blue's Clues" has been recognized for assisting young children in learning from the television screen.

According to research, children aged 3 to 5 show improved problem-solving skills after watching the show (Gernsey 2006). However, various studies have highlighted

the negative effects of media on children. Studies suggest that exposure to violent TV shows and movies can increase aggression when playing violent video games (Anderson, Bushman 2001). Additionally, the media often promotes stereotypes about people and races while influencing children's desires through advertising by creating a belief that certain items are necessary for popularity or coolness.

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