Gaping holes in security system at juvenile homes

Published: 23rd August 2013 12:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2013 12:07 PM   |  A+A-

Here is a shocker. More than ten inmates have escaped from juvenile homes and other such centres in the city during the last one month. In the latest incident, which took place late on Tuesday, four boys escaped from Juvenile Observatory Home at Poojappura in the city, exposing the security arrangements there.

 In the dramatic incident, the four inmates beat up the caretaker when he was serving them dinner. Pushing him into a room and thrusting a cloth into his mouth to prevent him from shouting, the four found their way out.

A report was filed in this regard by the Observation Home officials before the Social Welfare Director who, in turn, forwarded the report to joint director Raghavanunni. According to Raghavanunni, the home lacked basic infrastructure and it functioned in a two-room building, which was insufficient to house juveniles. “As per the Juvenile Justice Act,  juveniles must be housed in a vast building with sufficient open space and play area,” he said. He also said that the Observation Home housed children facing trial.

One reason for the minors escaping from the juvenile homes and observation homes is said to be the delay in the disposal of their cases. As per the law, the cases must be disposed of within four months of their detention. But in most of the cases, the teenagers in the homes have been kept for more than four months due to the delay in the disposal of their cases.

A police officer also admitted that the remand home officials had failed to maintain even the minimum security arrangements. The living conditions, he added, had also left a lot to be desired. “The boys might have felt like prisoners and that might have driven them to attempt an escape,” he said.

A psychologist opined that in most of the cases, the inmates escaped due to the pending cases against them. They know that they are minors and no further action will be taken against them. In some other cases, they lack proper counselling which, in turn, brings all negative thoughts in them. “In certain other cases, these juveniles flee just because of the torture they had to face from the officials in the homes. In such cases they find it better to move away rather than staying here,” said a city-based psychologist who didn’t want to be named.

Such homes here have been witnessing frequent incidents of escape in the last two months. Panic has been prevailing among officials of juvenile observatory homes and juvenile homes and senior police officers. In several cases, the juveniles had also beaten up the security staff and forced the gatekeeper to hand over the key of the main gate.

In the incident that occurred on Tuesday, the police later managed to nab three of the four inmates who had escaped, but many more, including the one involved in the latest case, are still at large. Yet, nothing has been done to bolster security at the Observation Home.


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