The state prisons department has selected only one adolescent offender for transfer from the Cherlapally central prison to the Borstal School in Nizamabad after going through hundreds of cases of young offenders aged between 16 and 23 years and lodged in the seven central prisons in the state.
The department had announced in January this year that it would transfer 94 adolescent offenders lodged in the seven central prisons to the Borstal School as there are many young offenders in central prisons and 94 vacancies in the Borstal School. Because, most young offenders don’t know about the Borstal School, even their advocates are not aware of it, says a senior official in the department.
After receiving orders from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and home department officials, the prisons department started finding out the adolescent offenders lodged in the central prisons in January this year.
“After going through all the young offenders’ cases, only one offender was selected for shifting to the Borstal School,” said B Sunil Kumar, inspector-general of prisons. “Many cases of suspected young offenders were rejected in the absence of proper birth or other certificates and because they crossed the age of 21 years,’’ he said.
The department selected only adolescent convict, 21-year-old Pradeep Kumar (name changed), who is lodged in the Cherlapally central prison. Pradeep’s case details had been sent to the home department for perusal and for announcement of the date of his shifting, the IG said.
The department has sent a report to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, saying that there are no adolescent offenders in the state central prisons according to Section 10A of the Prisons Act.
The Borstal School at Nizamabad, the only one now in the state, has just six offenders while its sanctioned strength is 100 inmates. The number of inmates at the Borstal School has come down from 150 in 1990 to five at present and all of them will be released in the next 18 months, according to jail officials. The transfer of delinquents to the school has come down as courts are sending adolescent offenders to different central prisons in the state.
“Adolescent offenders are being sent to central prisons due to lack of awareness among law and order officials over the Borstal School Act, which says the juvenile offenders must be sent only to Borstal Schools,” said a prison official.
The prisons department is spending Rs 60 lakh a year on the Borstal School _ Rs 54 lakh on salaries for 25 employees and the rest for maintenance. Two Borstal Schools at Visakhapatnam and Anantapur were closed down in 1998 and 2000 respectively due to lack of inmates.
For the last five years prisons department officials have been considering the option of shifting the Borstal School from Nizamabad to Hyderabad as the existing one is not located centrally.
The Nizamabad Borstal School, since its establishment in 1976, has trained around 750 delinquents in 11 trades like plumbing, carpentry, motor winding and tailoring.
What the Borstal School Act Says
All adolescent offenders are to be sent only to Borstal School but courts are sending them to central jails
AP Has Only One Borstal School
The only Borstal School in state is at Nizamabad. Though it can accommodate 100 inmates, it has just five now.