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article imageUK young offenders could see longer sentences for bragging online

By Michael Thomas     May 12, 2016 in Internet
UK young offenders between 10 and 17 years old could see longer sentences if they film their crimes and post them online, or brag about them on social media.
The news comes from the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, who released a proposal for expanded guidelines for sentencing offenders aged 10-17.
The big change in this new proposal for sentencing is that it mentions images, text and video deliberately posted online for the first time as an "aggravating factor" for sentences. In simple terms, that means sentences could be longer or tougher.
As Engadget explains, it doesn't mean that UK courts have ignored the role social media and video play in crimes, but it's now suggesting that this be considered among many other factors such as the severity of the offence and how old the offender was at the time.
Some of the newly added factors include: "deliberately committing the offence before a group of peers with the intent of causing additional distress or circulating details / photos / videos etc of the offence on social media or within peer groups."
Social media isn't yet included in sentencing guidelines for adults but given the median age of Snapchat users, for example, courts are updating laws and regulations for those most likely to use the media.
The guidelines came a month after a grisly murder in which two teens killed a 39-year-old woman and then posted video of the attack on Snapchat.
The main goal of the proposed rules is to not only to hand out fair and proportionate sentences, but also to prevent those convicted from re-offending.
Social media is increasingly playing a role in leading to arrests. In October 2015, a 43-year-old man was arrested in Manitoba after he filmed himself driving at 190 km/h. In April of this year, an Ohio woman was indicted for live-streaming the rape of a 17-year-old girl on Periscope.
The UK youth sentencing guidelines are now open to a 12-week consultation period.
More about young offenders, Social media, England, Wales
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