It was only last week that a self-appointed 'independent commission' was telling us how bad prison is for poor young people - 'young' meaning anyone under 23.
How right they are. A correspondent tells me of the tragic tale of one Ben Redfearn-Edwards. A punitive, neanderthal judge sent him to a young offenders institution for two whole years - just because of a little attempted armed robbery. Haven't we all done things we regret when we're young ?
So when, a few days after being released (on licence of course), he attempted a little mild sexual assault on a woman walking her dog - well, what's a boy to do if he doesn't want to be identified ?
It was claimed Ben Redfern-Edwards, 21, was desperate to stop beautician Jacqueline Ross, 44, identifying him after he pounced on her, possibly to sexually assault her.
His initial attack on a canal towpath in Disley, Cheshire, was foiled when Mrs Ross's terrier bit him.
But he then allegedly battered her with a brick because he "dreaded" going back behind bars.
You can't but feel for him in his dilemma. What a senseless waste of a young life. Such a nice boy, too.
Redfern-Edwards laughed and made an offensive gesture to the victim's family including her husband Michael Ross.
Mr Justice Pitchford warned Redfern-Edwards he would receive a statutory life sentence (NOTE - could be as much as five years in practice - LT).
He told the jury that one of Mrs Ross's two young sons started school on September 5 and said he "wanted his mum".
As the defendant was taken down, he spat in the direction of Mrs Ross's family.
Another correspondent mentions a poor young thing who committed her first crime when she was only 20. How wrong it would have been to lock her up so young.
Sadly, she didn't seem to grow out of the habit as she got older.
27 minutes ago