Newsbrief: Brit MP Calls for Drug Testing 10-Year-Olds, Comments Came in Debate Over Criminal Justice Bill 12/27/02

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The British Labor government's effort to remake the criminal justice system in its pending Criminal Justice Bill is sparking demands for an ever tougher approach to juvenile crime. On December 17, Tory Member of Parliament Graham Allen one-upped everybody by calling for the drug testing of children as young as 10 by police.

The Labor bill calls for lowering the age of testing from 18 to 14. Only children suspected for other crimes would be arrested. But 14 isn't nearly young enough, said Allen, who serves on the parliamentary committee that began examining the bill this week.

"The focus has been on the civil liberty aspects of the bill -- my concern is the civic freedom of intimidated witnesses, innocent victims, and frightened citizens," he told the BBC News. "There are young people in my constituency who, by age 14, are 'old hands' to drugs and well known to local police. Drug testing of arrested children should begin at 10. After all, 10 is the age for criminal responsibility."

In addition to lowering the age of drug testing, the bill has also come under attack for its proposals to allow double jeopardy prosecutions and to allow prosecutors to reveal the criminal convictions of defendants at trial -- both reversals of longstanding British common law.

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Issue #269, 12/27/02 Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: New Zealand MP Tanczos Cleared in Marijuana Probe | Newsbrief: Nevada High Court Voids Meth Drug Ingredient Law | Newsbrief: "What About the Children?" -- Colorado Bills Target Home Meth Labs | Newsbrief: Ohio Supreme Court Backs Workers in Workers' Comp Drug Test Ruling | Newsbrief: Brit MP Calls for Drug Testing 10-Year-Olds, Comments Came in Debate Over Criminal Justice Bill | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: US-Trained Thai Drug Unit Pulls Back from Burmese Border | Newsbrief: Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Petition Has Enough Signatures | Newsbrief: Tampa Ordinance Would Criminalize "Drug Dealer Behavior" | Newsbrief: Drug Checkpoints at West Virginia NORML Rally Draw Lawsuit | Online Petition Launched Supporting MEPs' Call for Ending Prohibition | Media Scan: Montreal Compassion Club, Impact Press on Marijuana Legalization | DC Job Opportunities at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar

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