Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Should juvenile age be reduced to 16 from 18?

You must hate the sin, not the sinner.

Many people have recommended lowering of age for all crimes/keeping different juvenile age for different crimes.
We cannot simply suggest to lower the age if 

·         India has less no. of juvenile homes and less staff for it.
·         Juveniles form gangs inside the reform homes. Boys are severely beaten inside and several have claimed to have been sodomized by other inmates

      (If we are so concerned about juveniles, why send them in the company of hardened criminals? Do they not have same or even graver danger in their company?)
·         On many occasions, the minors bribe the security guards to obtain drugs

      (Are adults or security guards in adult prisons averse to taking bribes? )

The police are supposed to destroy the records of the juvenile after the completion of his/her sentence, and so juveniles can easily get away without a criminal record (This is the idea behind juvenile homes. To give a chance to the juvenile to reform and be able to start afresh as he has a long life ahead of him.)

The whole practice of juvenile homes started to give offenders of a lower age to have a chance to reform as most of them are naive and supposedly not mature enough to distinguish good from bad. Also, many are from unprivileged backgrounds. Juvenile homes are supposed to act as a rehab center for these juveniles and help them understand their duty towards the society. Just because ideal scenario does not exist, we should not be doing away this "golden chance" for the minor offenders.

Also, India is a signatory to the UN conventions and we have before us the juvenile age followed by different countries world over. Lets give some weight to the convention. Afterall, it was arrived at after enough deliberations by the experts having a much broader vision than us. Anyday, I will trust their wisdom more than the media-whipped frenzy.