HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Help juveniles turn right on the route to reformation

Realisation of wrongs done is essential if a person is to be reformed, and this can only be possible through education, drilling in moral values, skills training and a chance to earn an honest living, say readers
Support from the family and society can help reform youngsters and prevent them from taking to crimes.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Support from the family and society can help reform youngsters and prevent them from taking to crimes.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 12:29 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By

Many flaws in JJ Act

A review of judgments of various high courts of the past five years reveals that the current JJ Act, 2015, is ill equipped to tackle child offenders in the age group of 16 to 18 years who knowingly commit “heinous offences” of rape, robbery, murder, drug trafficking, gun running and dacoity. Armed with the complete confidence of immunity of juvenile protection, these legal delinquents indulge in crime and then reap the reward and protection as juvenile offenders. The JJ Act, 2015 is flawed from another perspective. Any juvenile alleged to have committed an offence upon being apprehended or detained by the police, shall be released on bail, except in three exceptions i.e. when his release will bring him in association with any known criminal, or expose him to danger or his release will defeat the ends of justice. With the advancement of the age of the internet freely dispersing all possible information on every available subject on a smart phone or a computer, a 16-year-old today is an informed adult, irrespective of his education, family background or societal set up. Glamour of crime, freedom, curiosity to implement explored knowledge and ability to devise analytical methods makes any such teenager an adult. It is time therefore, that the definition of a “juvenile” particularly who is in conflict with law and who is found to have committed a “heinous offence”, should no longer be treated as a child. The age of the juvenile in the JJ Act should revert back to 16. The benefit of reform for juveniles under 16 ought not to be extended any more to those above 16 who enjoy crime and not suffer it.

Anil Malhotra

Identify and help students at risk

“ The earlier the better” is a promising approach in which the teachers must inform parents about the child’s behavioural misconduct, absenteeism and lack of interest witnessed during the early school years and counsel them about the child’s need for parental care, love and affection. Prevention and intervention programmes must be designed for students at risk for development of substance abuse. It is important for the teacher to understand individual differences and not set unattainable goals as it may lead to great irritability and accentuate feelings of inferiority. The schools as well as parents must not lay emphasis on grades or marks and make it a benchmark of success and failure. The curriculum should promote value education, social competence and conflict resolution. Participation in recreational programmes like sports, music and art must be encouraged to channelise their surplus energy. The police must act as a preventive force by focusing on reform rather than punishment and treat them with sympathetic care as it may determine the child’s future behaviour.

Komal Singh, Chandigarh

Hate the sin, not the sinner

The main motive of the juvenile justice is to reform rather than punish the child in conflict with law. The government should allocate more funds to set up Juvenile Justice Boards and correctional homes. Reformative methods should be designed to instil values that can socially uplift juveniles. Their confidence levels will improve with regular education, vocational training opportunities, therapeutic training (yoga/meditation) to improve their psychological behaviour, and finally with employment.

Manjinder Kaur, Chandigarh

Parents should give time to children

Give children healthy activity alternatives. Those who spend more time with their parents are less likely to take to a life of crime. Some experts believe that holding family dinners at least five times a week can help to prevent juvenile delinquency. If children surround themselves with good and educated people these things can be prevented. Children should be taught about peer pressure early in life. They should study books motivational books.

Ishita Nara

Minors exposed to violence on net

The reason for delinquency is parental neglect, especially in the poorer and lower strata of the society. Minors are also exposed to lot of violence on the internet, media and movies which is leading to mental and psychological illnesses. A legal framework is already in place in India to care of the juveniles but its enforcement is poor.

Anil Kumar Yadav, Chandigarh

Focus on poor neighbourhoods

It’s important to catch them young and mainstream them through education and proper nutrition. Childhood is the most impressionable age. There is a need to identify poor neighbourhoods and educate not only children but also their parents. Society and state will have to come forward to provide for Anganwadi (3-6 years old), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (to provide education to children left out of schools), vocational training and adult education. It should be mandatory for every employer to set aside at least one hour for literacy and education of poor illiterate employees. The administration will have to provide for expert psychological counselling to the children who continually neglect their studies at the school and fail repeatedly. The case in point is that of schools in the poorer colonies where children serve as bar/catering bearers and members of dance troupes during marriages etc at nights.

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali

Flag unusual behaviour

Schools should be on alert to check the behaviour of students. Mobile phones and cars should not be allowed and counselling services should be provided to all the youngsters with anything unusual red flagged and brought to the notice of parents and teachers for treatment.

Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh

Seek help first

Parents need to keep an eye on their children and seek help from counsellors if behavioural changes such as lower grades in examinations, aloofness, loss of interest in family conversations and lethargy are noticed. Instead of fearing social stigma,the family should lose no time and seek expert counselling. The efforts of the police to mainstream juvenile delinquents by teaching them various skills under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana with assistance from the NGOs has to be appreciated.

Usha Verma, Chandigarh

Set up secure centres

Juvenile homes need to guide youngsters to become responsible citizens through love, affection and proper direction. Emphasis should be laid on making these centres secure. Law universities should introduce courses on juvenile justice. Such a policy is being adopted in Scandinavian countries which has resulted in the least rates of juvenile crimes.

Muskan Kotwal

Light sentences not the solution

Education is the key. Children from financially backward families need some incentives for attending school regularly.They can be kept busy after school hours with games or studies and senior citizens can help in this.If the children play and read, they will automatically get weaned away from crime.The message – easy come, easy go – must be instilled in juveniles in their formative years.Those gone astray should get psychiatric counselling besides training in skill development or athletic/ games. The new trend of enticing minors into contract stealing/thefts and other crimes should be stopped immediately, that too with an iron fist.Our statute book has enough provisions for reformation and rehabilitation of delinquent juveniles.Many a time provision of light sentence, even for serious crimes, is responsible for their proxy deployment.This has to be reviewed. For crimes of rape and causing death, even juveniles must suffer for life and the message has to go out loud and clear.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Set up special homes

There are some contributing factors ranging from parental care, differences between temperament, family influence, impact of school friends, neighbourhood and our society as a whole. All these deeply influence the young mind that finally chooses a short-cut to everything. Now there is only one way to bring all these juveniles involved in crimes into the mainstream and that is to bring them to special juvenile homes especially set up for this purpose. All issues related to crimes, their actual rights and issues about starting new avenues should be discussed with the juveniles by a team of experts in this field. Providing children with the opportunity to develop positive behaviour should be the foundation of most efforts to prevent youth crime and violence. Now a law has been made in which all past records of a juvenile’s crime are erased to afford him to start a new life. The objective of the Juvenile Justice Act is to integrate a person who committed a crime while under the age of 18 rather than punishing him for a longer period. This is a wise move.

Gurpreet S Malhotra, Kansal

Provide anger management training

Youngsters in juvenile homes should be taught social skills, anger management, physical exercises, yoga and meditation to understand that a life of crime will lead them nowhere. Drug rehabilitation services should also be provided.

Col TBS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Get reformed prisoners for talks

Youngsters in reform homes need the right kind of education to realise their wrong deeds. It should be mandatory to teach them vocational skills to enable them to stand on their own feet. Apart from this, they must be involved in some schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will also help. Adults who have completed their jail terms should be made to interact with the youngsters and talk to them about the consequences of a life and crime. Collaboration of NGOs, RWAs and the police can enable youngsters to become responsible members of the society.

Amanpreet Kaur Bains, Kurali

Keep mobile phones away

Most parents today have no qualms about parting with their hard earned money to buy their children mobile phones and laptops to help children supplement their studies. This is not helping as most adolescents waste time and money playing video games, with Blue Whale and PUBG having a harmful effect on them. More sadly, children have easy access to prohibited sites and is such are influenced by criminal elements into taking up a life of crime. What parents can do is narrow gap between themselves, their children and their teachers to make sure checks and controls are imposed in schools as well as at home to understand the students, curb harmful behaviour and arrange for periodic counselling.

Subhash Puri, Panchkula

Parents’ support critical

Gone are the days when children used to be afraid of the authority of a senior member of the family, usually the father. Now, with fast paced city lifestyles where parents are busy with work and socialising hardly get time to spend with their children after fulfilling their basic needs and education. Absence of much needed control during the formative years is the main reason why young boys become spoilt brats and get into bad company. Juvenile delinquents can be disciplined and brought into the mainstream to become responsible citizens provided their parents remain supportive and interact regularly with them in the reform homes, making every effort possible to help their children lead normal lives again.

SC Luthra, Chandigarh

Keep communication channels open

Lack of moral values and communication with parents forces juveniles to take the wrong path in life. It is the duty of the elders in the family to spend quality time with their children, maintain proper communication, listen to their problems and guide them accordingly.It’s important that children are taught to be down to earth, practical, determined, happy and strong to combat life’s challenges. Parents need to win their trust too so that children can speak freely with them and share their problems as and when needed.Use of mobile phones should be restricted. Teachers should understand the psychology and pay individual attention to every child. Proper coordination between parents and teachers is expected to make students better individuals.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Help them pursue higher education

Parents should ensure their children are supervised at all times. Youngsters come under the influence of bad company easily. The government should make better policies for the welfare of juveniles. When in reform homes they should be enrolled in crafts Institutions/ centres The government should provide them training as per their aptitude/level of education. Those interested in higher education should be given every opportunity to pursue the programme of their choice and encouraged to take up gainful employment after completing their reform terms. Bank loans on easy terms and conditions should be granted to help them start businesses and every possible effort should be made to showcase their work.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali.

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