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Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A shocking indictment of the court's tratment of children, 26 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Cries Unheard: the Story of Mary Bell (Hardcover)
A book that caused much controversy on it's release, due to the fact that the subject, Mary Bell an convicted child killer (a term with two meanings - someone who kills children, or a child who has killed), was paid for her contribuion to the book. The book focuses on the treatment of mary once she was convicted and focuses on her experiences in the variety of institutions she was held over the years she was in custody. It presents mary as a child who had suffered terribly during her early years, largely due to the influence of her mother. Sereny presents a shocking view of a criminal justice system that is simply not geared up for the treatment of children, courts that only look at what actually happened, when in a case such as this the reasons for it are far more important than the actual details. Mary comes across as a woman who has suffered immensley both before and after the murders. She was moved around various institutions and was given little or no education, and then finally thrust out into the real world with no experience of what to do and how to cope. The book is easy to read and is full of emotion from Mary herself, the author and all the other people interviewed in the preperation of the book. Sereny draws remarkable parrallels between the Jamie Bulger case and the two boys convicted and the Mary Bell case. The sad thing being that it is obvious that in the intervening years the system has not changed and it's treatment of child offenders is sadly lacking in flexibility and concetration on the underlying motives involved in the committing of such dreadful crimes. Hopefully people in authority will read this book and learn that when a child does commit and offence of this magnitude, that the tragedy is not just that the crime occured, but that nobody noticed the problems of the child beforehand
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