A little Daily Mail-ish (he's a little more widely published, I gather), but anonymous writer and blogger Winston Smith's take on the riots has been quoted in a few places already. One's opinions about what should be done with juvenile offenders is one thing, what actually happens is another:
Now, just what will these consequences be you may ask? ... Within a few weeks many of these rioters that you are now watching loot, burn and terrorise on a twenty four news channel will be on an Intensive Surveillance and Supervision Programme, where they will spend the majority of their 'sentence' being escorted to gyms, adventure centres, DJ courses and having their lunches bought and paid for and they will even be given the bus fares to attend their 'punishment'. There will be a minimum of community work as part of their ISSP and in some parts of the country the Youth Offending Service will fail to implement this part of the ISSP. ... Another part of their ISSP will involve them sitting in on classroom based sessions where staff will ask them what feelings they were experiencing prior to setting their community alight and how best they could channel those feelings in the future. We may even get them to do some 'poster work', as I have heard it referred to, where they will draw and colour in examples of criminal behaviour just in case they were not aware that torching local businesses and throwing masonry at the police, fire brigade and passers by were indeed criminal acts.
I see in the papers there's already unhappiness about leniency in sentencing.
Personally, I don't know what to think about juvenile punishment. A slap on the wrist is ridiculous, but put a stupid 12 year old in jail for 5 years and he's likely to emerge so broken that the toll he takes on society when he's let out makes a pair of stolen trainers look like small change. The principles and the practicalities are not so cut and dried.