Well-kept homes could have avoided violence, child rights panel chief says

,TNN | Oct 6, 2013, 11.48 PM IST

NEW DELHI: In a matter of weeks, juvenile inmates at the government-run rehabilitation home have hit the headlines on three separate occasions for vandalism, riots and escape bids.

Out of the 22 minors who fled on Saturday, five had made another escape attempt barely a week ago from the same home in Kingsway Camp. They had been moved to Kingsway Camp from a facility at Majnu ka Tila following vandalism on August 29. The earlier escape bid had prompted the intervention of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DPCPR) that slammed the women and child development department for the deplorable condition of juvenile homes. The homes were "unfit for a reformative facility", it said.

DCPCR chief Arun Mathur told TOI that if the facilities were properly run, the recent incidents of violence, vandalism and escape bids could have been averted. "The staff at these facilities is not trained, motivated or present on a regular basis. Nobody likes to be a captive in a lock-and-key situation and obviously, there is great discontent among the juveniles which is not being addressed. This is despite the fact that the high court is constantly monitoring the situation. All reports on the state of juvenile homes that have been submitted to the court earlier have highlighted similar problems…. ''

Mathur, however, did not rule out the possibility that the psyche of the juveniles involved in the incident would have prompted the violence irrespective of the conditions of the homes. He said a juvenile's mental health issues also have to be addressed along with regular counselling.

"These boys have been placed in correctional facilities because they are in conflict with the law. The child development department has to be more proactive and say what it is doing to improve the juvenile homes instead of being so cagey. No matter what recommendations we give, they remain on paper. Very little study has been done to see whether these homes are serving the purpose for which they were established," added Mathur.