There is a Jesuit saying that goes, "Give me a child until he is seven and I'll show you the man." In other words, the early days of a child determines their life. Harsh words? Too prescriptive?
When I was a Director of a Unit for children with severe behaviour problems back in the 1980's, I produced a research paper showing that failure to intervene with children who were aggressive and violent only led to juvenile delinquency and later adult offending. (Cross, D.G., Sweeney, J., & Eiserle, E. (1986). Conduct disordered children: 1. A review. Records of the Adelaide Children's Hospital, 3, 244-249; Cross, D.G., Sweeney, J., & Eiserle, E. (1986). Conduct disordered children: 2. The Child & Family Centre function and program. Records of the Adelaide Children's Hospital, 3, 250-257.)
Yes, a waste of a life and a huge cost to the community in so many ways.
Then there it was.
When I was in London for a conference in September, the newspaper headline said it all; "Quarter of those charged over riots had already committed ten offenses." (Evening Standard, 15.9.11, Page 6). These were referring to the London riots. It went on to say, that "a quarter of people charged over the London riots were 'hardcore' criminals...who had carried out 16,598 earlier crimes." A total of 26% had served a previous jail term. Nearly 5% had at least 50 offenses on their record. Certainly too, there were around 27% who had no criminal record and who, for whatever reasons were caught up in the mania.
Irrespective, the statistics are sobering. We've always known that "from little things, big things grow" and that includes people and their behaviour...including aggressive, violent and criminal behaviour.
When will we take the lesson and undertake early intervention with young children (prevention is better than cure) or else, if the leopard won't change it's spots, then keep the leopard in the cage? What do you think?