The Applicability Of Juvenile Justice Criminology Essay

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whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have course, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. This message is clear as it was in 1948, without the preservation of the rule of law, violations of rights occurs and where violations occur, rebellion is encouraged. The conclusion is evident: violating human rights cannot contribute to the maintenance of public order and security, but can only intensify their deterioration. This message should by now be seen as manifested or known around the globe.

Respect for human rights by law enforcement agencies actually enhances the effectiveness of those agencies. In the sense, respect for human rights by law enforcement, to be ethical and honest , is a practical requirement for law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies that respect human rights thus obtain benefits with the objective of law enforcement, while at the same time building law enforcement that does relied on fear and fake power, but rather on honour, professionalism and legality.

However, children status makes them vulnerable to abuse. The majority come from poor families and had to survive by their own ways. Poverty brings them maybe the reason for them to be the path of law. Moreover they are vulnerable because of their identity such as gender or ethnicity for which law enforcement officials discriminate them against. They often botched by the judicial supervision and reviewed and left to languish in juvenile homes or prisons, forgotten by the system that is meant to protect them.

Most of these children are poor and illiterate they are unaware of their rights; they cannot defend themselves and have little access to lawyers who would defend them. The children from disadvantaged backgrounds are easily targeted for custodial violence at the hands of law enforcement officials. Even children in state institutions such as homes experience abuse or violence.

The state has the responsibility to protect children, the law officials are responsible for the care custody and control of delinquent children. Mauritius is under the commitments of the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and other international instrument such as the Beijing Rules, the Riyadh Guidelines or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and other international instrument

The CRC is a confirmation of the applicability of existing international rights and standards for the administration of justice concerning juvenile offenders. Thus, there are some differences, first the UN Convention rights of the Child is the only human rights treaty that contains a description of the overall aims of the administration of justice concerning juvenile offenders. Secondly, the CRC explicitly recommends (whenever appropriate and desirable) dealing with children who infringe the penal law without resorting to judicial proceedings (Art 40par. 3 under b CRC). Third, the CRC requires that a variety of non-custodial measures are made available as alternatives to institutional care, or deprivation of liberty (Art 40, par. 4 CRC). In the line with this provision, Article 37 under b, CRC states that deprivation of liberty shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, a provision unknown in other human rights treaties.

The implementation of the rights and standards for the juvenile justice as enshrined in the CRC are supported by and elaborated in three sets of Guidelines, Standards and Rules:

UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency: the Riyadh Guidelines

UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice: the Beijing Rules

UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty: the Havanna Rules

However, while some of the CRC`s civil and political rights provision expand on existing international law, other reaffirm rights already provided for, sometimes in a more complete forms, in other international treaties such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment(CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Basic Rights and Principles

The CRC committee has identified four provisions in the CRC which it considers as General Principles. These Provision should be an essential part of the implementation of the other provisions relevant for juvenile justice.

Juvenile Justice or anything that concerns children should be performed in the light of four general principle of the CRC, namely; Non Discrimination (Art. 2 CRC), the best interests of the Child (Art. 3 CRC), the Right to life, Survival and Development (Art.6 CRC ) and the Right to be Heard (Art. 12 CRC). Thus in Mauritius , personally visited the institutions they are treated according to these rules they are given the education and their needs are taken into considerations but there is a lack of encouragement the institution work in bureaucratic system. Moreover, there is no development of effective programmes and policies for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, and the staff are not qualified or do not have any training to mitigate with these children this disregard the best interests and I can say that's why the population of our institutions are increasing.

According to Prof. Jaap.E.Doek experiences as a member of the CRC Committee, the international body for monitoring the implementation, the rights, rules and standards applicable in the field of juvenile justice, he had proposed some arguments on how the CRC rules become reality.

Prof. Jaap. E. Doek stated that there are still some judges dealing with juvenile offenders who are not aware of the existence of the CRC and who think that the CRC does not have any importance for their practice. The same applies for the public prosecutors, policemen and policewomen, probation officers and professionals working in institutions for juvenile offenders. It is also views in the recommendations of the CRC committee that most countries to the CRC must take measures to ensure that the information on human rights in general and children`s rights in particular is an essential part of the education of professional working in this field education.

In some countries the move towards a more punitive approach is in demand that is diversion and restorative justice. Unfortunately, in Mauritius we do not really have a restorative justice. A juvenile may be deprived from his or her liberty but it is not guaranteed that the child will be a good citizen when leaving the detention centres.

The suggestions proposed by Prof. Doek can make the rate of juvenile offenders decrease and the juvenile justice system of any country effective. The observations are as follows:

'Governments of state parties must establish a comprehensive national policy and programmes of action for the prevention of and intervention in juvenile delinquency based on CRC and related international standards. This policy and the related plan of action should set time specific targets and priorities for a step by step well coordinated implementation plan together with adequate allocation of necessary financial found in the Nertherland, although the country struggles with the familiar problem of coordinating its implementation.'

Ongoing efficient training for all actor in the field of juvenile Justice is essential (public prosecutors, probation officers, policemen, policewomen, housemothers and others)

NGOs must take well planned action to put pressure on the government and politicians to improve the practice of juvenile justice and where suitable provide services. Activities such as awareness campaigns in corporation with the media, mobilizing and supporting specific group professionals such as lawyers (when necessary they can provide legal assistance) and social workers (probation officers or staff working in detention centres) and taking measures such as restorative justice.

' the academic world should be involved in and promote systematic evaluation of the different aspects of the juvenile justice system such as pre-trial detention, the right to fair trial, the use and effects of alternative measures, and the deprivation of liberty. The results of evaluations and other research should be used to impact policies and practices, and academics and NGOs should join hands to produce that impact. '

In Prof. Doek words, 'there are many rights and standards relevant to the treatment and protection of juvenile offenders which can create juvenile justice system that is not only humane but also effective, both for the individual juvenile and for the society as a whole. For the next decade, the slogan should: not more standards but (much) more implementation.

Juvenile Justice System in Developing Countries


Canada proposed the legislation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) in 2003.This Act main objective were to reduce the country`s high rate of youth incarceration based on an understanding that community based services are more efficient when dealing with young offenders. The Act protects the legal right of the youth such as access counseling, or right to reveal their problems in the youth justice.

The Youth Criminal provides wide structures which envelop issues of public awareness, crime prevention, education, child welfare, health, family and the community. "It adopts an integrated approach to all areas of young peoples` lives including mental health, education and welfare, and emphasizes rehabilitation and reintegration as well as the long- term public safety."( Tustin&Lutes,2006)

Youth correctional services include both custodial and community supervision programs. Custodial supervision includes sentenced custody (open and secure custody) and remand. Community supervision consists of probation and the YCJA sentences, which encompasses the community portion of custody and supervision orders, and deferred custody and supervision orders. (Milligan. S, 2006).

The Youth Correctional facilities in Canada

The main activities of correctional facilities for juvenile offenders are intended to ensure the safe and secure investment and the management and control of juvenile offenders, as well as offer programs that address the criminogenic tendencies to help the successful reintegration of young offenders in the community.

Located in Coldbrook, the Center 24-7 is a parallel school program offered by the Institution for young offenders in Nova Scotia in partnership with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board (AVRSB) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The arrangement of the student population is quite unique, with a mixture of young residents of the Institution for young offenders in Nova Scotia and youth at risk who are unable to function in the system of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. The program is designed to meet the educational needs and interpersonal development of young people and offer unique options as part of a process of case management well defined. The structure of the program are the

Step before the program; Program applicants undergo an evaluation after the subject of a recommendation by probation officers, the youth workers, program directors, student services and the AVRSB principals. Potential students are evaluated relative to their abilities and their cognitive skills to see if they can function in a group environment. A key requirement is that there is a support person available to students enrolled in the program. It can be a parent, relative or member of the community who makes himself available to provide support.

Educational program; the educational program follows the guidelines of the program of the Ministry of Education of Nova Scotia for the courses are fully recognized. The school follows a semester. The program offers classes with few students, personal attention and preparation for reintegration into a community school. Experiential Learning; Trained personnel present opportunities to improve communication skills, problem solving and goal setting, giving students the opportunity to learn by doing something and talking after the event. Program based on the adventure; to increase self-esteem and self confidence, the Centre offers activities for which nature and would present challenges. These activities include climbing inside, canoe trips with a night camping in the backcountry, camping, hiking and a ropes course acrobatics.

Daily living skills; the program skills to daily life are focused on personal growth and offer various courses to meet the needs of youth. The course topics include anger management and the harmful effects of misuse of alcohol and drugs. Vocational training; the goal is to prepare young people for employability and improve their chances of finding and keeping jobs. The program focuses on writing letters, preparing a resume, skills for interviews and work placements in the community. Canada is a good example of effective practice in juvenile justice. Legislation has been successfully implemented to reduce the number of youth in custody based on the understanding that community-based programs are more effective than incarceration in dealing with young offenders. Further, the Canadian system adopts an integrated approach to all areas of young peoples' lives including mental health, education and welfare, and emphasises rehabilitation and reintegration as well as the longterm public safety. (Review of Effective Practice in Juvenile Justice, Report by the Minister of Australia, January 2010)


In Tasmania youth justice services are by provided by the Department of Health and Human Services(DHHS), Disability, Child, Youth and Family Services (DCYFS). DCYFS is a new entity which is responsible for disability, health care and parenting, community development, adoption and permanency planning, child protection, family violence counselling and support, sexual assault, and youth justice community and custodial services. These services were brought together under DCYFS to ensure client focused service delivery and better integration across services to avoid service gaps and overlaps and improve client-provider communication.

The high level focus of Tasmania's juvenile justice system is 'working together with the community and the young people, with the emphasis on encouraging young offenders to take responsibility for their offences. The Youth Justice Act 1997 outlines a set of principles and objectives that are intended to meet the needs of young people who offend with the intention to divert them from a criminal pathway. It also seeks to deliver these services in an integrated and collaborative way with young people, parents and guardians, significant others and services within and outside the Agency. This is achieved through formal partnerships with the Magistrates Court, Tasmania Police, local government, the non-government sector, the Education Department and DHHS Colleagues. Tasmania Police is responsible for deciding whether to divert or refer alleged youth offenders to the courts. Diversionary pre-court, informal and formal cautioning services are provided by Police Early Intervention Units. Police can also refer a young person to participate in a community conference run by Youth Justice Services (YJS). When making decisions, cultural, religious and community considerations must be taken into account. YJS, which works closely with Tasmania Police, participates in overseeing a number of diversionary programs such as U-Turn, for youth who are involved or at risk of becoming involved in motor vehicle theft.

The Magistrate's Court (Youth Justice Division) was established under the Youth Justice Act 1997. Community conference undertakings are registered with the Court Registrar and non-compliance with conference undertakings may result in referral to Tasmania Police to decide whether to prosecute the matter in the court. Available sentencing options of the court include, dismissing the charges, releasing and adjourning proceedings on conditions, fines, community conference, probation, rehabilitation orders for family violence offences, community service orders, detention orders, and suspended detention orders with conditions. For more serious sentences, the court is required to obtain a pre-sentencing report from YJS.

The Community and Custodial Youth Justice Services work together closely to provide integrated assessment and case management practices. The Community Youth Justice Service provides supervision and case management for young people who have received a court order or a community service undertaking as decided during a community conference. Custodial Youth Justice Services are provided at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre in close coordination with the Community Youth Justice Service to ensure that the assessments which inform case management, including pre- and post-release planning, are comprehensive and up to date. The Ashley Youth Detention Centre provides various education and training and health and wellbeing services for detainees. In 2002-03, there were 82 young people admitted to Ashley Youth Detention Centre. This number is considerably less than the 174 young people admitted in 2000-01 and is attributed to the use of alternative sentencing options and the diversion of offenders from the court process. The centre, which has a dedicated programs officer, provides a range of drug and alcohol, employment, life-skills and other programs that take account of participants' cultural needs. The centre also has a dedicated Advisory Group which meets regularly and receives compliance reports on service standards that inform its advice on improvements to services and centre development. (Review of Effective Practice in Juvenile Justice, Report by the Minister of Australia, January 2010).

Services given in the Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Provision of a high quality secure care environment for young people.

Rehabilitation of young people in custody to enable them to become more responsible citizens.

Improved health and well being outcomes for young people in custody.

Improved capacity for reintegration of young people.

Promotion of organization and management structure that provides beat practice service for young people in custody.

Education-vocational and educational training.

Parenting. Personalized training, internal project Hahn offsite Recreational and Community focused Activities.

Gardening, Maintenance, Art and Sport

Case management in Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Responsibility - Youngsters have to develop a sense of responsibility as it is important to learn pro social behavior.

Rehabilitation - Addressing the risk factors of reoffending (cultural factors, unemployment, literacy/numeracy, drug/substance abuse, development stage, history of child abuse/neglect/domestic violence, mental health issues, family background)

Reparation - repairing the damage that has been done through engaging in programs and services and reducing the risk of reoffending.

Deterrence- Once the young person is returned to the community, deterring the incidence of reoffending through heightened social responsibility.

Diversion- strengthening family, community and cultural relationships to minimize the social impact of detention.

Juvenile Justice in South African Development Community (SADC) Countries


In Angola the juvenile justice system ceased to function as a consequence of the war and children were not guaranteed adequate legal, social and psychological protection. Minors in conflict with the law were tried by ordinary courts and kept in adult detention facilities.

The project launched in 2001 by United Nation Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained the country's judicial traditions and pre-existing system based on reconciliation, while at the same time strengthening the institutional and administrative framework of the Angolan Juvenile Justice System. The programme aimed to reinforce the Angolan institutions in their effort to set up and manage an effective Juvenile Justice System comprising of efficient juvenile courts and related social services. The strategy of the programme was to assist the Angolan Government in setting-up the Juvenile Court, the Juvenile Justice Department within the Ministry of Justice, in establishing a network of prevention/rehabilitation centres to become referral centres for the court, and in reinforcing the documentation centre and data base of the Angolan National Institute for Children's Support on the situation of children in Angola. At the social level, the project introduced pilot activities aimed to reintegrate children into the social system by collaborating with other UN entities, local institutions and NGOs. These organizations include UNICEF, UNDP and IOM, which are working in the field of minors.

The main objective was to ensure that the Juvenile Justice System was administered in the best interest of the minor, to provide adequate training to the administrators of the Juvenile Justice System (judges, prosecutors, social workers, police officers), the organization of an effective and efficient justice and social system and the development of training material for the protection of minors and the prevention of delinquency. The programme developed a child-oriented and juvenile delinquency prevention system by promoting a complete approach, relying on a network of community-based social services by targeting youth, children, families and communities. The social activities included the opening of, and support to, the operation of a National Observatory on the Conditions of Minors and four pilot social centres in different municipalities of Luanda to assist children at risk and in conflict with the law. Support included refurbishment of premises, provision of equipment and training of personnel.

The programme has strived to ensure equal services for both genders. The main activities had a particular attention to the specific needs of girls, dedicating a section for them in the Observation Centre as well as promoting gender-related training for the Juvenile Court, Observation Centre and Social Centre personnel.

The programme also supported the Angolan Ministry of Justice in the elaboration of criteria for the accreditation, registration and monitoring of foster families and private / NGO institutions where sentenced minors may serve alternative measures decided by the Court. Yet another indispensable component of the programme included information and awareness campaigns, both in Angola and abroad, on the difficulty that Angolan minors encounter and the efforts taken to guarantee the children's rights.

Activities 2005 - 2011

The main component of the consolidation process consisted in organizing upgraded courses for the operators of the Juvenile Justice Court, the Observation Centre, the Social Centres and the Municipal Administrations.

Skills trainings were carried out to enhance knowledge on the applicability of the law 9/96, the regulations of the Tutelary Commission of Minors, the measure of the assisted freedom and the measure of delivery of services to the community. Beneficiaries of the training were magistrates, police, prosecutors, social centre educators, members of the tutelary commission and representatives of the Municipal Administrations. The training activities were conducted in the Angolan National Institute for Judicial Studies (INEJ), the Minors Court and Angolan National Institute for Children's Support (INAC) by local consultants with high level experience and experts in legal /social training. Some of these experts had benefited from the training courses carried out during the first phase of the program.

In cooperation with the Italian Juvenile Justice Department of the Ministry of Justice, three study visits to Italy were carried out in order to familiarise participants with Italian legislation, institutions and practices in the administration of juvenile justice. The outcome of the training tours resulted in a great opportunity to establish a dialogue and a professional network between the two countries.

The Observation Center for Girls was furnished with various equipment and materials to carry out educational activities and vocational training. The program also provided the Tutelary Commission of Minors with some equipment and materials.

The social component of the training consisted in providing courses addressed to the staff of the Observation Centre and to minors, and dealt with issues such as literacy, scholastic catch up classes, organization of sports activities, relationships with families and had the aim to identify the role and aspirations of the child. Moreover, a new form of training model on Community and Freedom-Assisted Provision Services, group dynamics and family mediation targeted towards police officers and social centres was developed for the Juvenile Justice System.

Yet another component of the activities included public awareness campaigns on children`s rights that were initiated by UNICRI and carried out with the support of municipal administrations, markets, schools, health centres and churches. For example, workshops on child victimization were conducted in schools in order to sensitise teachers on these issues. Additionally, in collaboration with IOM (International Organization on Migration), workshops were conducted focusing on gender issues in order to promote equal services.

The interconnection of both components, social and institutional, ensured that the Juvenile Justice System is administered in the best interest of the child. This combination resulted in the development of appropriate training for administrators of the Juvenile Justice System (magistrates, social workers and police); in the organization of an effective and efficient social system; and in the development of training materials for the protection of minors and crime prevention.

Main results:

All operators engaged within the Juvenile Court are trained and competent in their field of work;

The Juvenile Justice Court, Observation Centre and four municipalities' social centres are set up, operational, equipped, furnished and provided with working tools and running cost resources;

The Observation Centre, Social Centres and the Juvenile Justice Court have been provided with a standardized data collection system;

The INAC (Angolan National Institute for Children's Support) database and documentation centre has been rendered operational;

Exchange of information and best practices between the Angolan Juvenile Justice institutions and the Italian Juvenile Justice Department has been established;

The collaboration between the civil society and local institutions as well as a dialogue with Italian and Angolan entities and organizations has been created.

The Ministry of Justice has, based on the success achieved in Luanda, decided to extend the project to other nine provinces (Benguela, Bengo, Cabinda, Kwanza-Sul, Huambo, Huila, Malange and Zaire).

UNICRI has been included in the new EU technical fiche related to the funding for Justice called Desenvolvimento da Capacidade Institucional no Contexto da Modernizao da Funo Publica no sector da Justice

UNICRI has been contacted by the Minister for Family and Women Affairs (MINFAMU) to organize a seminar on domestic violence and HIV/AIDS in collaboration with UNAIDS. The seminar will target high representatives of the Angolan government, other members of Parliament, as well as representatives of civil society involved in this issue and in gender issues in general.

The MINFAMU has shown interest in UNICRI supporting the Ministry in the framework of technical assistance for the formulation of the rules on the Law against Domestic Violence


"It is internationally agreed that the rationale behind trying children in juvenile courts and committing them to children detention facilities or prison is not punitive, but to convert and enable them to reintegrate in society upon their release.But findings of a report on inspection of children in detention facilities conducted by the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG) in Tanzania paints a different picture and raises serious questions over Tanzania's commitment in protecting  the rights of  children.

According to the report, despite the fact that Tanzania is currently experiencing an increased number of children detainees, many of these children lose their human rights when they are held in detention. Of serious concern about this phenomenon is that, even after months or years of staying behind bars and in inhuman conditions, the treatment and care these children receive while in detention has only served to make them worst enemies of their respective communities.

The report says the condition in detention and treatment of children fall far short of international human rights standards and those children were not receiving reintegration and rehabilitation services - a primary purpose of the juvenile justice system.

As figures emerging from visits to detention facilities from 2008 to 2010 indicate a significant increase in the number of children being held in detention facilities, authorities say  urgent measures must be taken to ensure respect for dignity of children. "These children are often held in adult prisons and the conditions in detention and the treatment they received fell far short of international human rights standards. Children were not receiving adequate access to reintegration and rehabilitation activities and services," reads part of the report released last year. The findings corroborate earlier findings by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) 2010 Tanzania Human Rights Report which indicated that the country's  juvenile justice system was highly unfavourable to children.

LHRC concluded that prison conditions for both adults and children were inhuman and degrading. In its report, the CHRGG assessed the situation in 65 children detention facilities.

The assessment gave a clear picture regarding the conditions for and treatment of children in police stations, in Detention Homes (facility for under-18s on remand), in the Approved School (facility for convicted under-18s) and in adult prisons. Social workers, lawyers, teachers and members of the Department of Social Welfare went around the country during the assessment and finally came out with, among other recommendations, ways of improving the situation in the children detention centres.

Conditions and treatment of children in detention

One of the key revelations of the report was that children in detention do not have access to meaningful activities and programmes to help their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

According to the report, children were found to have limited access to education, vocational training, psychosocial support and recreation to help their rehabilitation in the Retention Homes, Approved Schools and in the prisons.

International standards provide that the primary objective of a juvenile justice system must be rehabilitation and reintegration of the child into the community, rather than deterrent and punishment. And international covenants on protection of children rights have always stressed that detention should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate time. In recognition of the inherent vulnerability of children, additional rights for children detainees are enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty ('Havana Rules') in particular, provide a detailed set of standards for their protection and treatment. During the inspection visits, a total of 591 children were found in the 65 detention centres. Out of them, 441 were detained in adult prisons;  407 were boys and 34 were girls.

Researchers have also established that a good number of children in detention are child-workers. Most frequently boys in detention were involved in selling scrap metal and plastic bottles, or they wash cars or act as porters for passers-by. Girls in detention are often domestic workers who have been accused of theft by their employers. "…these convictions are frequently based upon false witness evidence from their employers," says the report. Another finding of the assessment was that children were being held in police stations for many hours, and even days before being taken to court and that age determination was inaccurate during arrest and detention.

Another notable finding of the report was the improper ways police used to determine the age of suspects. Findings of CHRGG showed that police officers determined the age of suspects by relying on information supplied by victims and on their own observation, which according to CHRGG, may not be an accurate process.

Under Tanzanian laws, a child under the age of 10 is not criminally liable. A child between 10 and 12 years old may be held criminally liable if the prosecution can demonstrate that the child was able to understand that what he was doing was wrong. A total of 27 out of 179 children who were interviewed during the inspection visits said they were under 10 years of age. "Some children complained that the police officers 'added' years to their age so that they appeared to have reached the age threshold for criminal responsibility or so that they could be treated as adults.

Boys interviewed in Arusha central prison complained that police officers sought bribes to record that they are younger so that they can be sent to the Retention Homes rather than to adult prisons. Another key finding of the report was that children were not always held separately from adults at police stations and conditions are generally poor. Section 102 of the Law of Child Act, 2009, stipulates that children should be held separately from adults while in police custody. However, out of 30 police stations visited during this assessment, only four had a separate cell where children could be detained. Children are either held in cells with adults or are kept in offices or corridors, the report says.

The mixing of children with adults in cells in prisons and police stations has exposed children to risk of sexual abuse.  Tanzania is committed to ensuring these international standards are upheld and this is evidenced by ratification of the CRC and ACRWC. Under the ongoing Legal Sector Reform Programme (LSRP ), the government  has made efforts to improve prison  conditions by increasing the number of judges and magistrates to speed up cases and thereby reducing the congestion in prisons, establishing parole boards, renovating prisons infrastructure, and enhancing basic services.

The report recommends that the vast majority of children in conflict with the law should be diverted from the formal criminal justice system at as early a stage as possible.

"… where the child's case does come to trial, alternative sanctions which promote rehabilitation and reintegration into society, rather than punishment, should be used," recommends the report.  

Detention should be an exceptional measure, to be used only for a small minority of children who have committed serious and violent crimes and where no other measure would meet the needs of that child.

CHRGG recommends that where children are given a custodial sentence, those institutions must have rehabilitation and reintegration as the main objective of all policies and processes and early release should be used as often as possible.

Separation from adults in pre-trial detention

The United Nations has always insisted children placed in pre-trial detention should always be held separately from adults. A UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) committee had noted that "there is abundant evidence that the placement of children in adult prisons or jails compromises their basic safety, well-being, and their future ability to remain free of crime and to reintegrate".

The CRC Committee recommends that States should establish separate facilities for children deprived of their liberty. But the CHRGG states clearly that in practice, this separation does not happen in Tanzania. The inspection visits revealed that 441 children were being accommodated in the 29 adult prisons visited and that the vast majority of these children were boys.

The research revealed that there is no consistency in approach by magistrates in making decisions as to whether to remand children to pre-trial detention in adult prisons or in Retention Homes. Children are remanded in adult prisons even in areas where Retention Homes are in operation and even though these facilities are under utilised. Prison officials have always distanced themselves from the blame, arguing that their role is to receive detainees referred from the court.  They, instead, shift blame to magistrates, who are often unaware of the law governing children's cases. CHRGG findings have established that children in both pre and post trial detention are not separated from adults when they are held in prison and un-convicted under-18s are not separated from convicted prisoners. In the worst cases, children mix during the day and night with adults (e.g. Kilosa prison).

Rehabilitation and reintegration

International standards promote a holistic approach to rehabilitation and reintegration which addresses both the practical and emotional needs of the child.  Article 37(c) CRC provides  that "Every child deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person". Rule 26 (2) of the Beijing Rules states: "Juveniles detained in facilities should be guaranteed the benefit of meaningful activities and programmes which would serve to promote and sustain their health and self respect, to foster their sense of responsibility and encourage those attitudes and skills that will assist them in developing their potential as members of society". In the prisons, children have no access to rehabilitative activities or services. Provision in all facilities of education, vocational training and recreation was found by the inspectors to be wholly inadequate. For instance, a 16-year-old boy in Luanda Prison stated that, "Our situation is not good; there is no adequate space, education and vocational training in the prison."

"There are no mechanisms or programmes to help children be re-integrated with their families and communities on their release. Children are only supported with transport fares home, and only provided with this support if their addresses are known," says the report.

Separation from adults post-trial

Of the 441 children held in various prisons across the country, only 64 had been convicted.  These convicted children are not separated from adults whilst in detention - as is the case with pre-trial juvenile detainees. Their imprisonment is in direct contravention of the Law of the Child Act (2009). The only post trial detention permitted is in the Approved School and only for a maximum of three years. However, children are placed in adult prisons even though the Approved School is under utilised.  At the time of the inspectors' visit to the Approved School, there were 56 children being held there whilst it has a capacity to hold 300 children.  

Violence against children in detention

Children in detention are extremely vulnerable to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation at the hands of fellow detainees, staff or even from self-harm (including suicide). Girls can be especially vulnerable to sexual abuse.   Article 19 CRC places duty on States to take all appropriate legislative, administrative and educational measures to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of any person who has care of the child. It must be noted that penal laws in Tanzania protect children from violence and sexual abuse both in detention and outside. Prisons rules and regulations also enshrine the right of children to be protected from abuse.  CHRGG came across some serious allegations of violence, abuse and sexual assault in prisons made by children interviewed during the inspection visits. Abusers were mainly identified as adult prisoners, with children also identifying prison officers as abusers.  Children's reports showed that they were most vulnerable to sexual abuse at night, especially in prisons in which children are not separated from adults."

By Bernard James

The Citizen Reporter (29 January 2012)



*However in Mauritius the CRC standards and rights are not recognized and used by the actors working in the field of juvenile justice. The people concerns with juvenile justice are not trained. The actors in this field have many difficulties while dealing with juveniles as they do not know how to handle their disruptive behaviours. Our juvenile justice system is based on a bureaucratic we do not have enough professionals and the resources are limited in this sector. Somehow the juvenile offenders are discriminated by their ethnic, background and social origin. There are no initiatives taken to encourage the families of offenders, there is a lack of communication with probation officers and family members (some does not want the child to stay with them due to their behaviors). The community tend to stereotype them because of their conduct or because the child has just been released from a detention centre.

* However, Minors in Mauritius are tried in chambers of Magistrates. The proceedings are less formal, publicity are not authorized. The child is heard, their views about alternative measures that may be imposed and the specific wishes or preferences are taken into consideration and then the verdict is done by the magistrate. But still more measures should be taken into consideration the government must review the system of juvenile justice so as to make it effective to reduce the delinquency rate. For instance, is the Juvenile Justice of Mauritius a Restorative one? There are no programmes for rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system and the staffs are not trained before they get their jobs.

*Compare with Mauritius and others countries