Longest sentence to juvenile is 28 years imprisonment: AGHS

Longest sentence to juvenile is 28 years imprisonment’
Courtesy Daily Times – 23 July 2008

* AGHS report says youngest child in jail is eight years old
* AGHS director says a lot needs to be done for betterment of child prisoners

LAHORE: The longest sentence given to a juvenile in 2007 for murder is 28 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 65,000, given by the Additional Session Judge Mandi Bahauddin, an AGHS report at the Lahore Press Club revealed on Tuesday.

The report said that the shortest sentence awarded to a juvenile was for a period of seven days for contravening orders given by the Faisalabad deputy district revenue officer.

The report on children in Punjab prisons has been complied on the basis of information collected from 29 prisons of the province. The report said that the total number of children found in 2007 was 8,098. The number of children admitted to the prisons from January until December was 2,460.

Youngest: The report revealed that the youngest child already in prison in 2007 was an eight-year old who was detained in the Sahiwal Central Jail for murder. It said that the youngest child to be admitted to prison in 2007 was also an eight-year old child who has been detained in the Bahawalnagar District Jail for murder since October 2007, and his case was to be processed until the end of the year.

The report said that there had been a decline in the number of imprisoned children in the 7-11 age bracket. The report said that the total number of convicted children found in the Faisalabad Borstal Institute in 2007 was 619, and that the AGHS had received information about six female child prisoners throughout the year. The report said that they could not receive information regarding most female juveniles as they were detained in the Multan Women Jail. The report said that AGHS had identified 82 cases from the prison data, which required intervention and relief.

Director: AGHS Director Hina Jilani said more should be done for the betterment of children prisoners. She said that the probation department’s role should be made effective, and that children should not be given rigorous imprisonments. The practice still continued in jails and needed to be addressed, she argued. She also said that children who were kept in jail on sexual harassment charges should not be imprisoned with other younger children.

Jilani said that the children who remained with their mothers in jail also needed the authorities’ attention for rehabilitation. She said that the role of a probation officer was quite important in the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) but they were not playing any role, and the police did not inform them when it arrested a child. She said that children in jails were deprived of health facilities and they should be provided with it. Jilani said that the visitors, who came to see the children, should be checked in order to determine whether they were the children’s relatives or criminals. She said that it was also the responsibility of the state to provide juveniles before and under trial with legal aid.

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