Preventing Crime, or Terrorizing Tots?


In Britain, the government wants to get tough on crime by identifying potential criminals while they are still mere terrorizing tots. The Crime Reduction Review, a leaked study commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair, suggests that wayward children as young as three should be singled out in the nursery and attend programs intended to curb their behavior, or even be removed to foster-care.

Quite a different strategy on "child-proofing the world": The British government suggests protecting society from the diapered ruffians based on the unscientific impressions of child-care workers.

Research cited in the 250-page CRR states that 85 percent of juvenile delinquents in detention facilities were bullies in school; and that 43 percent of imprisoned adults have children who are also criminals. Although science can't point to a primary origin of criminal behavior, the study is right in concluding that environment plays a significant role in shaping young minds.

Which begs the question, how exactly would a seven year-old respond to learning that she has been classified as a potential criminal as a toddler and that nanny was actually a rehab counselor?

For years, the good people at Reason have been protecting you from the menace of juvenile delinquency. Chris Lehmann lifted the "siege" against parents a few years back, and Carl F. Horowitz fought against a mall-full of consumerized teenaged zombies. Nick Gillespie gave the old in-out to the bogus boom in "middle-class teen prostitutes" a few years back.