Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

March 13, 2010: Age Of Criminal Responsibility

Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, has made the following response to the 'Times' article today which noted her views on the age of criminal responsibility:

"I wish to be clear and to put into context my views on such terrible atrocities. Some children and young people do commit terrible crimes and are a danger to themselves and to others."

"It is right therefore that these children are contained in secure settings as in the case of James Bulger's killers and more recently the horrific case in Edlington. I empathise with the pain and anguish felt by all the families of the victims involved. Children who carry out such atrocities and other serious offences need to understand the severity of their actions. They should undertake intense programmes appropriate to their age in secure facilities where they are helped to make positive and lasting changes to their behaviour."

"The age of criminal responsibility in England is one the lowest in Europe. The statistics show that we are in danger of criminalising too many children and young people by locking them up for committing far less serious crime."

The Commissioner had told the Times that children should be better protected by the criminal justice system. She had commented the the age of the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales (currently 10 years old) was too low:

 "... it should certainly be moved up to 12. In some European countries it’s 14. People may be offenders but they are also children. Even the most hardened of youngsters who have committed some very difficult crimes are not beyond being frightened.”

With regard to the murder of Jamie Bulger, she told the Times that his killers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, themselves children, should simply not have been tried in an adult court:

“What they did was exceptionally unpleasant and the fact that a little boy ended up dead is not something that the nation can easily forget. But they shouldn’t have been tried in an adult court because they were still children."

“In most Western European nations they have a completely different way of intervening with youngsters who’ve committed crime. Most of their approaches are more therapeutic, more family and community-based, more about reparation than simply locking somebody up.”

The role of the Children's Commissioner was created by the Children Act 2004, and is there to promote the views of children and young people from birth to 18 (up to 21 for young people in care or with mental health problems).