TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Danger children at play

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The Independent Culture
It has been quite a week for the Aycliffe Centre in Co Durham, which houses more than a hundred people aged 8 to 18 who have committed crimes ranging from armed robbery to rape and murder. Monday's World in Action claimed that six residents suffered broken bones at the hands of carers at the home - an allegation that has prompted a Department of Health inquiry. Tonight's INSIDE STORY (9.30pm BBC1) is also set in the Aycliffe, although it paints a rather more favourable picture. Joanna Clinton Davis's sensitive film attempts to profile 'Children Who Kill'. Michelle was 15 when she incinerated someone with a paraffin bomb. She was convicted of murder, and no date has been set for her release. Now she spends her time creating a display of cuddly toys in her room - 'to make it look more home-ful' - and railing against the killing of whales by cosmetics manufacturers. Lizzie, who committed armed robbery, was a victim of sexual abuse. She wants to be a police officer combating sex crimes when she grows up. The director of the centre stresses that they are not trying to change the children at Aycliffe - just make them feel valued.

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