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Do we need to know why Venables was recalled to prison?

with 2 comments

Jon Venables

Does the debate miss the point?

I’ve been following an interesting debate on Victoria Derbyshire’s Radio 5 Live show this morning regarding the information (or lack of) released into the public domain following the news that Jon Venables, one of the killers of Jamie Bulger on Merseyside in 1993 has been recalled to custody. It was a crime which rightly shocked the whole nation and that shock was compounded by the knowledge that his ten year old killers were released from custody on licence after only eight years  in 2001 with new identities protected by the courts at enormous expense to the taxpayer.

Although the recall to prison seems to have sparked a difference of opinion between the Justice Secretary and the Home Secretary, a matter which Iain Dale believes ought to be a big story, for me it just illustrates that there is confusion and disconnect at the heart of the government and that confusion has spread to the public domain resulting in the emotive crap that I’m hearing on the radio right now. Some sort of factual information ought to have been given about what type of licence condition had been breached by Venables, without necessarily being specific, along with a full explanation of the licence conditions applying to his release, such information may have helped to inform the debate and calm some of the frenetic people calling the BBC, – education is a wonderful thing.

However, despite the fact that radio stations are debating why, why not, ifs, buts, maybes, and other trivia regarding the case, we ought to be remembering the one thing which nobody from the Justice Secretary downwards has bothered to mention, nobody that I can see apart from Timmy who succinctly cuts through the crap with this post, is that a life sentence is just that, regardless of minimum tariffs. If rehabilitation somehow goes wrong, or if an offender fails to follow the agreed terms of an early release they will be carted off back to prison (or in Venables case to an adult prison for the first time) without any recourse to the courts or a judge and jury. Unfortunately his only commenter so far has also missed the point.

This case is an illustration that at least part of the justice system is working, and although we don’t know why, we ought to be reassured that his life sentence continues (at least until the next meeting of the parole board.) Where we need further concrete reassurance is in the case of killers released on to the streets who somehow manage to return to the courts to face further charges of murder or manslaughter, why are they not just forced to sit out the rest of their life sentences in some miserable place, like HMP Dartmoor, without the expense of additional trials?

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Written by curly

March 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Posted in BBC, Blogging, Crime, Law, News

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2 Responses

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    I do believe we need to know, if only to understand what these atrocious cases say about the perpetrators as well as the victim.


    March 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm

  2. It may be thought that to state the reasons for his recall might prejudice the hearing which will decide whether his return to jail and for how long is confirmed.
    The newspapers are very selective in who they choose to hound. Myra Hindley, Mary Bell, Maxine Carr are prime examples. Other murderers are released without publicity and many are never heard from again because they have done their time and never re offend. Do not forget that the tab for new identities, police protection etc is picked up by us the taxpayers.

    I spy

    March 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm

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