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Juvenile homes: A nursery for serial offenders?

Lack of proper counselling and poor living conditions have undermined the very purpose of juvenile homes, according to officials and social activists.

lucknow Updated: Aug 20, 2018 15:12 IST
Kenneth John
Kenneth John
Hindustan Times, Allahabad
Juvenile homes,Serial offenders,Crime
Juvenile home in Khuldabad locality.

Lack of proper counselling and poor living conditions have undermined the very purpose of juvenile homes, according to officials and social activists.

Minors held by the police for petty crimes are kept in juvenile homes (Samprekshan Grih) with the hope that they would come out as a reformed person but they often gang up with fellow inmates and graduate to serious crimes after their release.

District probation officer Neelesh Mishra said such cases had been coming to light despite the fact that counselling facility was available at juvenile home in Khuldabad area.

“We try to guide such children but due to overcrowding, things become tough for us. Against the maximum capacity of 50, we have 115 children lodged for different crimes,” he said.

There are many criminals who stepped into the world of crime after being lodged at juvenile homes for petty offences.

Vinod Kumar alias Gadau Pasi, a wanted history-sheeter in police records, was once lodged in juvenile home in Khuldabad locality for allegedly stealing a pig.

Today, he carries a reward of Rs 50,000 and is wanted in cases of heinous crimes such as loot and murder. The police have not been able to nab him for the last two years.

Similarly, Ritesh Pal of Dhoomanganj locality was caught twice in cases of loot. He was lodged at juvenile home for reformation but after his release he committed several cases of loot and theft under George Town police station.

Recently, he was arrested red-handed in a case of loot and confessed to having formed a gang with fellow inmates of the juvenile home.

Likewise, Abhilash alias Bunty of Rajapur is a serial offender in police records. He was arrested by George Town police for committing loot.

According to police, Abhilash had committed purse snatchings with Ritesh Pal, with whom he came in contact at the juvenile home.

Director of Human Rights Legal Network and Allahabad high court advocate KK Roy said the situation was grim at juvenile homes in the state as provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act were not being followed.

“The Act clearly provides for segregation of inmates of juvenile homes on the basis of age, physical strength and gravity of offence for which the children are lodged. Offenders under sections 302, 376 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) cannot be kept with children charged with petty crime like theft,” he added.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 15:12 IST