Minister attacks child criminals: Redwood backs youth detention

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The Independent Online
CHILDREN who commit crimes should be treated as criminals, John Redwood, the Secretary of State for Wales, said yesterday.

'Let us not call them probation service clients, disadvantaged youngsters or young offenders. Let us call them thieves, vandals and hooligans to show our disapproval,' he said.

Mr Redwood, who caused controversy by criticising the number of single mothers on one Welsh estate, used a speech to Welsh businessmen to support the measures announced at the Conservative Party conference by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, for young offenders to be detained.

'The idea that the yobs who do these things have no choice, that they are creatures of circumstance, is nonsense. They are not prisoners of time and place - they should be prisoners at Her Majesty's pleasure if nothing else will stop them,' Mr Redwood said. Parents and teachers should take more responsibility for imposing discipline on children.

'A 10-year-old should not be out of control. Parents should know where their children and younger teenagers are after dark. If we do not deal firmly and quickly with the 10-year- olds we will have little chance when they are 15.

'People know intuitively that the task of parents, teachers and relatives is to encourage young people to take responsibilty for their lives.

'Most children need and respect a framework of discipline. It is a pity some educationalists have been reluctant to give them one. If children misbehave outside school, neighbours, parents and friends have to tell each other and take action. If children misbehave at school it is up to teachers to sort it out.'