Separate court for juvenile prisoners

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Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Administrative Judge of District Courts Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani have directed sessions judges to appoint a separate court to hear cases of juvenile prisoners in Adiala Jail on a priority basis.

They also directed appointment of an administrative judge to examine the care of juvenile inmates.

Given extremely poor and filthy conditions prevailing in our prisons, minor inmates mostly from disadvantaged groups should not be waiting much for their trials and getting bails, otherwise it will only lead and contribute to further criminalisation of their minds.

Hence, appropriate directions on part of the two judges are a step in the right direction. It is also a fact that most of the minors do not fully understand the real consequences of their actions.

During a visit to Adiala Jail, a minor inmate also informed the CJ IHC that he had bought a stolen dog and returned it and even then he was still in jail. This is once again a manifestation of how rotten our justice system is even for children.

Hence, there should be speedy trial of juvenile prisoners not only in Adiala Jail but also in other prisons as well and those involved in petty crimes should not be kept in jail but released immediately.

Similarly, minor prisoners should be kept in separate wards and if sufficient space is not available in prisons, then arrangements be made to keep them in a separate place.

There should be rehabilitation programmes in order to provide them better education and training so that once they come out of jails, they do not turn to crimes again rather are adequately equipped to become productive citizen of the society.

It is equally important for federal and provincial governments to pay special attention to enrolling hundreds of thousands of out of school children. This will also go a long way in saving them from all sorts of abuses and crimes.

 

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