Bangalore: As the country is imploring and protesting for the justice system to make amends in juvenile law, it would be a shame not to know what goes around in the juvenile homes, which is meant for correction and reform of the delinquent. A 17 year old, who is back from a juvenile observation home in the capital has two of his front teeth missing after engaging in a fight with the inmates and still considers himself lucky, reported Atul Sethi for TNN.
It might all seem too stark as to what happens in the correctional facility. Even the life of the 17 year old is a grim tale of solitude and misfortune, an orphan, dropped out from school at 9 and started using drugs at 10, landed him in the correction center where it just became worse. When asked about his drug habits, he said, “I experimented with everything ganja, fluid whitener, injections, smack or whatever I could lay my hands on.” He further added, “By the time I was 12, I had started breaking into people's homes along with my friends, all of whom were hooked to drugs. We stole stuff that could be sold to fund our habit. The police eventually caught us. I was brought to the observation home where I found that more than half the boys were drug addicts like me,” as reported by TNN.
It took him hardly any time to understand the inside games of the juvenile home, he said, “The older boys who are usually repeat offenders take the lead in creating a brawl. Fights break out many times during the day especially when the 'repeaters' are high on what we call the 'Dus number' tablet. It removes all feeling of pain. It also makes them very dangerous. We used to dread it when the lights were switched off.” He also pointed out that the older boys sexually abused the young and weak children in the home mostly during the night, which is unbridled, extensive and goes unchecked.
The official did acknowledge that fights do break out but they denied all allegations related to the abuse of children at the observation home. The facility's superintendent informed, “The only solution is keeping the trouble-makers separate. But we don't have enough space inside to create separate rooms.” Regarding the drug usage at the home, he said, “Do you think drug peddlers walk into the campus, scale our walls to deliver packets to the boys inside?” as reported by TNN.Now that the 17 year old has undergone a de-addiction programme and is preparing to start over his life as a motor mechanic, he understands that drug addiction is worse than getting stuck behind the high walls of a juvenile prison and has made resolutions never to indulge again with drugs.
He finally remarked, "If you pay money to the guards, anything is possible. I have seen drug packets being procured even when the boys go to the court for hearing. I was lucky I spent only a little time there and was able to get de-addicted. But unless conditions improve, most of the boys inside won't be coming out reformed. Instead, they will come out as future Dawood Ibrahims," as reported by TNN.
Drug abuse leads many into a lot of trouble and the worst kind of trouble seems to be a juvenile correction center for these young men, but the need to provide de-addiction programme has become a must in the country to avoid creating future criminals and reforming the naive young ones.