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All is not well at juvenile correction centre



SELF-INFLICTION of wounds to the hand, forehead, leg and other parts of the body by 20 inmates at the juvenile correction centre in Tongi Tuesday night looks more like a desperate protest than the work of a young man resorting to violence under the influence of narcotic substance, as the officials at the centre sought to project the incident as. According to a report published in New Age on Friday, the wounded children alleged that they had cut themselves in protest against systematic torture and depravation by the centre’s officials. The centre’s officials, however, claimed that the incident had taken place as one of the inmates got drunk after taking cough syrup given by his brother upon his return from a court hearing, which, as indicated, sounds a little outlandish, to say the least. In any case, the incident suggests that all is not well at, or with, the centre.
The correction centre was established by the government in 1987 under the social welfare ministry to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents and re-integrate them in society. As such, the centre is expected to provide not only shelter and food but also education and training facilities for its inmates. Regrettably, however, having the capacity to accommodate 200 juveniles, the centre now reportedly has a total of 323 inmates. Worse still, it lacks adequate manpower, not to mention logistics. Moreover, the centre has been run by an acting supervisor for years now. Above all, the ministry high-ups have hardly managed time to take note of, let alone address, the various problems that have plagued the centre. As a result, the juvenile correction centre, renamed as juvenile development centre in 2004, has virtually turned into a mere detention centre. Additionally, allegations have it that many children, released so far after the end of their term at the centre, have engaged in criminal acts again.
Be that as it may, according to the New Age report, in a welcome move, the High Court asked the government on Thursday to investigate the matter thoroughly by forming a three-member committee which should be headed by the director general of the Department of Social Welfare and include the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police of Gazipur and submit its report to it in seven days. Also, the court asked the government to explain in two weeks its inaction to stop mismanagement of the centre. Hopefully, the respondents will not only comply with the court’s order with but also take effective steps to make the centre deliver its stipulated services without any delay. 




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