Mum pleads: Send my son to jail

A DESPERATE mum whose 14-year-old son has amassed a long list of criminal convictions today pleaded with the courts to send him to jail.

A DESPERATE mum whose 14-year-old son has amassed a long list of criminal convictions today pleaded with the courts to send him to jail.

The frustrated 37-year-old believes the short sharp shock of losing his liberty could put an end to his descent into a life of crime.

The Ipswich mum also blasted the judicial system for “mollycoddling” youth offenders and revealed her son had been given chance after chance despite repeatedly breaching court orders and breaking the law.

She is so unhappy at the “soft” punishments handed to the boy that during his last court appearance she appealed directly to magistrates to put the troubled youngster behind bars in a bid to curb his offending.

She said: “He has been in court so many times, mainly for theft and criminal damage, and he has breached the orders every time he has had them.

“But every time he goes back to court it's the same old story - either I will be fined and he will be let off or he will be given another supervision order and we will be back to square one.

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“If he breached the order the first time, what's the point of giving him another? The courts are mollycoddling these kids.

“He needs to be locked away for a couple of weeks. He would be devastated but I think it would do him good.

“They (the courts) have threatened him with a Young Offenders Institute so many times but they always back down.”

The mum, who can not be named for legal reasons, said her son's offending stemmed from a crippling cannabis dependency.

In the past year, the teen has even stolen from her to fund his addiction.

But despite her best efforts, the mum says her son has been unable to kick his habit, instead committing more crime to pay for drugs.

She claimed his attitude to law and order was similar to other youngsters she had encountered.

“You see the same kids at the court time and time again,” she said. “I have heard them sit there and say 'we can do what we want because the courts can't do anything'.

“Youngsters know they can go out and break the law and all they'll get is a slap on the wrist. The punishments are too soft.”

Ministry of Justice figures paint a different picture, however.

Of the 3,740 under-18s deprived of their liberty in 2006/07, youth offending specialists recommended custodial sentences in only 1,077 cases - 29 per cent of the total.

The statistics also reveal that Britain imprisons more children than any other European country.

Should punishments for youths be tougher? Or are we jailing too many children? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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