Letter: Bulger killers

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The Chief Inspector of Prisons seems to have concentrated on the needs and rights of the two young murderers of James Bulger. Whether they are freed now or in five years' time, they will still have their whole lives ahead of them, unlike their victim.

As E D Davis points out (letter, 2 November), these past years have been spent by Thompson and Venables in relative comfort, with all their needs met except for the freedom to go out when they want.

I find it hard to understand comments that, at such a young age, these two did not understand the gravity of what they were doing. I have two sons of my own, now in their late teens, and I am certain that at the age of 10 (and long before) they would have been fully aware of the wickedness of abducting a child and beating him to death.

Yes, one of the principal purposes of imprisonment is reformation, but another must be deterrence. How many young thugs would be deterred from crime by the punishment imposed so far on Thompson and Venables? Come to that, what evidence is there that these two have reformed? That one of them is good at art? I would have thought that evidence of remorse, would be a prerequisite for acceptance that they have reformed and are deserving of release.


Heathfield, East Sussex