I think cases like that are sad for all parties. The tragedy affected three families. Without seeing the 2 boys, I can’t really say what they are like and whether they truly showed remorse after the events. There have been other cases of children killing children, but this case was really premeditated rather than by accident. For this reason, I think that at least one of the boys would have shown some warning signs before the abduction and they had tried with another boy before they abducted Jamie. So, these are boys that needed treatment before this happened.
After the determination of guilt, I think it was a good decision to treat these boys and to keep them out of adult prison, where young people just learn to be criminals! It’s true that children at the age of 10 years know what is right from wrong. However, it is very difficult for 10 year-olds (even 14 year olds) to anticipate the consequences of their actions. So, knowing that an action is wrong is not the same as being able to predict how bad the consequences could be if you perform the action.
The fact that many young people are committing these horrible crimes in the company of other people tells us that their decision-making processes are compromised by the presence of peers. The presence of peers makes young (and older) people fail to consider the consequences of their actions carefully. Adults are not as influenced by peers but they still take more risks when they are in a group. Young people are extremely influenced by their friends, and research shows that they fail to consider all the negative things that could happen based on their decisions.
Also, children and young people think that they are invincible and that nothing will happen to them. So, their decision-making is not as good as an adult’s. We need to consider the fact that children are not little adults when we make recommendations for how young crime breakers should be treated.