Wednesday, 3 March 2010

'Jon Venables' on Twitter: The public disgust me

Jon Venables is back in prison after breaching his licence conditions, and a look at the Twitter comments would seem to suggest that the majority of the British public are thrilled. Without a doubt the murder of Jamie Bulger was a horrendous crime, but let us not forget the murderers were also children.

Some of the comments on Twitter are just disgusting:
Whatever the crime committed, do we really want to live in a world where 10 year olds are hung? Or even sent to prison for life?

Despite the public's desire for simplicity, people are not either 'good' or 'evil', they are products of their society. When even the most rational people can behave badly under certain circumstances (see:- Milgram experiment), can we really justify calls for hanging or life imprisonment, whatever the crime? Prison should be about rehabilitation and protection of the public, not making the public feel good about their relative 'goodness'. Creating a set of people we can label 'evil' means that we don't have to look so closely at our own behaviour, or our own contributions to society.

We don't yet know the reason why Jon Venables is back in prison, but like the general public I'm not surprised. Not because I think he necessarily has some innate 'evilness', but how could we expect anyone to integrate back into such an irrational society.