Monday, January 18, 2010

A Clockwork Orange It's Not

An Arizona boy who, at age 8, shot and killed his stepfather and another man has been sentenced to a treatment facility. The term is indeterminate, but could continue until he is 18, with psychiatric evaluations due to the court every 2 ½ years.

The type of treatment the boy will receive is unclear. He is still only 10, however, so the jarring images of heavy-handed reprogramming at the end of A Clockwork Orange are not really age-appropriate. The young ruffians in Kubrick’s film were twice the age of the boy in this case.

The boy will not be allowed outside the facility, and it wasn’t clear from the CNN account whether his mother will be visiting him. She should probably get some treatment of her own. Evidence indicated that the boy was repeatedly spanked by his stepfather at his mother’s request.

As things stand, it’s all so very sad. Is rehabilitation somehow possible, because the human spirit is resilient? Or is the sentence to treatment merely a way of passing the buck, by a judicial system unclear about underlying principles of justice?

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