I think that the minimum age of criminal liability in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be raised to 17. Of course any increase should be done in conjunction with a detailed review and restructuring of methods dealing with crimes at below that age as well as easy and immediate provsion of Restorative Justice for everyone involved.

Why is this idea important?

Despite the steady decline in crime figures since 1995, too many people are being branded as criminals too young and for acts which are not that serious.  All children do things which they are ashamed of later in life.  Shutting them up in Detention centres and prisons merely reinforces in their minds that they are criminals and will behave accordingly.  As a nation we are helping people to become career criminals and increasing the likelihood that their children will follow them. Prisons are already overcrowded; England and Wales has the highest per capita prison population in Europe (153 per 100,000). They are very expensive to run and ineffective at preventing repeat offending.  Politicians cannot bring themselves to accept what the British Crime Survey and Recorded Crime figures have shown.  Neither government policies nor the public's perception of the fear of crime calmed by aggressive, inaccurate and commercially driven headlines and campaigns in the media and online discussions.

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