The Children’s Correctional Home itself needs improvement



March 31, 2024 4:48 pm

Sushma Sharma

Birgunj: There are currently eight children’s correctional homes across the country. Of which four are government and four are operated by non-governmental organizations. Child correctional homes are established to reform and rehabilitate children who are in conflict with the law.

Section 43 of the Children Act 2075 stipulates that if children under the age of 18 are found to be involved in crime, they will be placed in a juvenile reformatory to teach them good character and behavior. During that period, children should be given basic facilities including nutritious food and education.

However, various reports have shown that the child correctional homes operated in Nepal are not able to provide basic facilities. There is a debate going on that the children’s correctional home should be improved. Various incidents have also taken place when children’s correctional homes do not meet the minimum standards.

One of the latest examples of incidents in children’s correctional homes is the clash that took place on Bhadra 26 in Birgunj, Parsa. There was a clash between two parties in the said children’s correctional home. Children inside the correctional facility and the police were also injured in the clash. There were 149 children in the child correctional home, including 131 children from earlier and 18 children brought from Bhaktapur.

On the 4th of Bhadra, there was a conflict between the 18 children who had been caught and brought from among the children who escaped from the Bhaktapur Children’s correctional Home and the children who had been living there before. Earlier, Kamal Basnet died on Bhadra 3 at the Children’s correctional Home in Bhaktapur. A dispute arose after the death of Basnet, who was ill and was being treated, and at the same time, the children ran away from the children’s correctional home by vandalizing it.

Recently, on Asoj 4th, a child was killed when two parties clashed in a correctional home located in Duduwa rural municipality 6 of Banke. Sulabh KC is among those who died. He was seriously injured in the clash and died during treatment.

These recent incidents have sparked a debate on the need to reform the correctional homes established to improve the behavior of children. Out of the eight correctional homes in the country, the police arrested a person who was smuggling narcotic cannabis through a drain pipe in the Birgunj correctional home on Fagun 21.

There are 116 children from eight districts in the children’s correctional home in Parsa district. Among them there are 12 from Parsa, 15 from Bara, 8 from Rautahat, 22 from Sarlahi, 14 from Dhanusha, 5 from Mahotari, 27 from Siraha, 14 from Saptari and one from Sunsari.

According to the regulations of the Juvenile Justice Committee, the children are given the facilities of food, hygiene, clothing, education, meditation, yoga, sports, entertainment and electronic equipment. But in the Parsa District Children’s Correctional Home, the children are deprived of all these. A child from the Children’s Correctional Home says, ‘I was the first student of the class. I was tricked and here I am. I passed class 10 here. Now I am preparing for class 11. But there is no reading environment. There is no one to teach me, I am preparing by studying myself. There is no arrangement to teach by having a teacher here.

The correctional home is staffed for health care. But when someone is sick, there are complaints that they ask for money before giving Cetamol. Without money, health check-up seems impossible. An employee of a support organization of the Children’s Correctional Home says, ‘When I come to the Children’s Correctional Home, the children are collapsing after consuming drugs. I have seen it myself. No one is interested in this matter. It is necessary to stop this illegal thing from where and how it comes.

On the other hand, the head of the Children’s correctional Home Office also says that it is difficult to keep all the children together due to the lack of physical infrastructure. The physical infrastructure is not enough. It is a problem to keep everyone in one place,” he said.

It does not seem to be easy to improve the behavior of children involved in legal disputes unless the concerned parties are serious about the improvement of the infrastructure of the children’s correctional home, the standards required to operate it, and the purpose of its establishment.