Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

Juvenile rehabilitation centers should address treatment needs, skill development and successful re-integration of juveniles into the society

Juvenile Crime

Juvenile Crime

All juveniles have individual strengths that can be identified, built on, and employed to prevent future delinquency

Youth Activities

Youth Activities

Engaging a community and neighborhood that promote and foster healthy activities for juveniles

Life-Skills

Life-Skills

Availability of economic and other resources exposes juveniles in attaining multiple experiences that supports their life-skills

Family Support

Family Support

Participation in shared activities between youth and family (including siblings and parents) is key to positive re-integration of juveniles

 

Diversion programs and Juvenile justice system

By signing the ratification of the United Nations Convention Charter on child rights and welfare, Kenya is obligated to enact legislation and provide policy framework that is aimed at protecting the rights of the child and providing guidance on interventions focusing on diversion programs for juveniles.

Brian Weke, child rights activist and legal expert in juvenile crime

Brian Weke, child rights activist and legal expert in juvenile crime

Brian Weke, child rights activist and legal expert on juvenile crime shares his thoughts on diversion programs and reforms within juvenile justice system in Kenya. Brian is also the Director of CRADLE Foundation, an organization committed to the protection, promotion and enhancement of the rights of the child through court representation, advocacy and law reform.
He explains that legal and policy framework with regard to child rights in Kenya has improved tremendously with coming into force of the Children’s Act on March 1, 2001. This treaty outlines provisions of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
“However more still needs to be done to improve the juvenile justice system. One major area is the implementation of diversion programs, which focuses on the channeling of children from the criminal justice system into programs that make them accountable for their action”, he said.
He added that for the youth who are in conflict with the law and those at risk of coming in conflict with the law may be diverted to programs that focus on placement under a supervision, mentorship, life-support skills, schooling and positive peer association.
In addition, diversion programs should focus on the juvenile and not the offense so as to help the juvenile be accountable and to reform. The goal is to rehabilitate the offender and to prevent further offenses while addressing factors that contribute to criminal behaviour.
The child right activist says that his organization, has attempted to set up a number of diversion projects for young offenders. So far diversion projects has been attempted in 14 regions; in Kamukunji, Buruburu, Kasarani in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nakuru, Bondeni, Kitale in the Rift Valley, Gucha, Kisii, Siaya, Kisumu, Busia and Kakamega.
He affirms that Law Society of Kenya with assistance of the Canadian Bar Association has been implementing and strengthening access to Justice for children project; that entails a case management system in the Nairobi Children’s Court, and lobbying for policies on child protection within the juvenile justice system.
“What is required urgently are standardised guidelines and procedures for protection of children in the juvenile justice system, and amendments to the Children’s Act in order to shield the child offender from a generally punitive and adversarial criminal justice system” he said.
Amendments on Children’s Act ensure that criminal charges are withdrawn and no criminal records are maintained on children, thus facilitating rehabilitation and re-integration. As stated in Article 53 of the Kenyan Constitution, every child has a right not to be detained, except as a measure of last resort, and when detained, to be held for the shortest appropriate period of time; and separate from adults and in conditions that take account of the child’s sex and age.
He further explains that implementation of proposed amendments on the Children’s Act to entrench diversion programs in the juvenile justice system will only bear fruits if the right stakeholders are engaged.
“This calls for involvement of Department of Children’s Services in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services, Juvenile welfare initiatives and the delegated legislative body. These stakeholders have the mandate to securitize, implement and adopt instruments that will enhance effective juvenile justice system and protection of the vulnerable”, he said.

—Ends—

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