Only six convicted minors completed reintegration programmes in 2013

The Juvenile Court has released the statistics from last year showing the number of convicted minors that applied to participate in the Correctional Center for Children, revealing that 21 had applied to take part in the programs and only six completed it successfully.

According to a statement issued by the court gave the opportunity to participate for 16 minors out of 21 that applied to the rehabilitation programmes, aimed to facilitate reintegration into society.

Of the 16 charged, the Juvenile Court stated that five minors were charged with drug and alcohol related offenses, two charged with fornication and sexual misconduct, four charged with theft, two with robbery, two charged with objection to order and one charged with assault and battery.

The court said that the purpose of the programmes was to give a second chance for minors charged with criminal offenses to reintegrate in to the society and also to determine minors charged with criminal offenses that are working and studying and to help them continue their studies and work if they were sentenced.

In addition, the Juvenile Court said the program included teaching different types of work to minors charged with criminal offenses.

The court noted that those participating in the program had varied reasons for not completing, and also that there were minors that repeated criminal offences during the programme.

The Juvenile Court said that these programs were conducted in accordance with the court’s child correctional programs conducted under the regulation on juvenile justice procedure articles 19 and 20.

The programmes are conducted in cooperation with all the concerned authorities, and juveniles taking part in the programmes will have to participate in different programmes conducted by the correctional centre for children, the Juvenile Justice Unit, the National Drug Agency programmes and programmes conducted by the Ministry of Gender and Human Rights as well as different social programs conducted by NGOs, the Juvenile Court said.

A report made by Dr Aishath Ali Naaz for the Asia Foundation titled ‘Rapid situation assessment of gangs in Male’ 2012’’ suggested that minors are the most vulnerable within gangs and that they were used by gang leaders to carry out the gang’s dirty work, such as selling drugs and alcohol, inflicting harm on others and vandalizing property.

Dr Naaz’s reports said that judges have the discretion to deliver a more lenient sentence with regard to most criminal offences committed by offenders who are 16 years old or younger and gang leaders exploit this fact by using minors to carry out crimes.

Last year the Juvenile Court concluded 125 cases, with 54 of the cases concluded being drug related offenses committed by minors.

According to the Juvenile Court statistics the Prosecutor General filed 103 cases last year while 83 cases were filed in the Juvenile Court the year before.

The statistics also showed that 584 cases were brought before the judges to decide upon the extension of pretrial detention period for arrested minors.

Speaking this week at the inauguration of a youth camp aimed at preparing adolescents for integration into the workplace, Home Minister Umar Naseer pledged to introduce mandatory government service for school leavers.

Speaking at the same event, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed spoke of the need to create a responsible young generation.

“There is no pleasure any one can reap from frequenting scenes of crimes. It is by strongly staying away from crime and being responsible that real happiness can be achieved,” Waheed said.