Child Development Centre: correctional institution or torture cell?

Child Development Centre:correctional institution or torture cell?
Youth is the period between childhood and adulthood. It is the best time for shaping a bright future, But it is a matter of sorrow that our juveniles are misguided and spoil their youth through antisocial activities.

To bring them in normal life and to correct their behaviour 'The Children Act', provision regarding 2013 provides Child Development Center (CDC). In our country there are three Child Development Center. Two of them are at Tongi for 300 boys and at Konabari, Gazipur for 150 girls. Third one in Jessore for 150 boys.

Before discussing CDC, we have to know what is juvenile delinquency and who are juveniles. Simply, juvenile delinquency means, an offence or violence committed by children under a particular age limit or below the age of 18.

The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to be 9 years or higher recommended by the UNCRC(United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,1990). The Children Act, 2013 defines a child as anyone upto the age of 18 years (section 4).

Child Development Centers are established for accommodation, correction, maintenance development of the children ordered to be detained and for children under trial. But it is a matter of sorrow that CDC are functioning as torture cell rather than correctional institution.  Torture  and irregularities are not new phenomenon in this centers. In 2011, a child  was brutally killed inside one center. In 2014, due to  irregularities and low grade food  some teenagers intentionally hurt themselves in protest at the Tongi CDC.

Noor Islam(15) committed suicide on June  30,2019. Monira Begum, another juvenile  committed suicide inside the Gazipur CDC in 2013. Recently on August 13, three juveniles were killed and  15  injured in the Jessore CDC  due to torture by its officials. This type of incident is increasing day by day because of their cruel disobedient officials and mismanagement.

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985, has two objects about juvenile justice. First, the promotion of the wellbeing of the juvenile. Second, ensuring that any reaction to  juvenile offenders shall always be in proportion to the circumstances of both the offenders and 
offence(Rule 5). The question is how far we can see the implementation of these two objects in our juvenile Justice system?

Our government is trying to ensure the improvement of the juvenile Justice system through The Children Act,2013. But there are lackings of CDC and its officials.

•CDC's officials have negative overview towards inmates, which is core reason of torture upon them.
•Absence of rehabilitation activities.
•Considering inmates as criminal.
•Absence of training among CDC's officials in case of dealing with these inmates.
•Absence of proper medical care and diet.
•There are only three CDC inside and outside Dhaka  So these centers are always overcrowded. 
•In CDC Children detained committ are prone to , suicide due to frustration support and inhuman behaviour of its officials.
•Lack of recreational facilities in CDC.

In order to ensure proper treatment of children in CDC, its officials should be corrected first. They have to be supportive towards inmates. Proper  training should be given to them to understand juvenile's  psychology. Appointing to counselor to conduct counselling sessions. Providing opportunity for inmates to continue their education when they are detained. Providing proper medical care and diet.

Apsha Ismail
Student, Department of Law
Jagannath University, Bangladesh.

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