The externs in professional mode

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Some thoughts from Anrite on juvenile justice

The issue of juvenile justice in this country is one that needs serious attention and redress.
It is not uncommon to see children spending many years in the remand home awaiting judgement in the course of their trials. As a result, they waste precious years. This is because the court process is incredibly slow and they seldomly appear in court due to the frequent unavailability of a vehicle to take them to and from the court. This is coupled with the fact that some of them who are lucky enough to get a court hearing do not have legal representation, making it exremely difficult for them to have a fair trial.

Children that are arrested are usually placed in the same jail cell with adults despite the law saying that this should be a last resort. The inefficiency of the system is further evidenced by the fact that children are seldomly informed of their rights by the police and are often tricked by the police into making plea bargains that are usually not in their interests.

It is heartbreaking to know that most of these kids end up leaving the remand homes and juvenile centres with more psychological and emotional damage than they entered there with.

1 comment:

  1. You are right, it is heart-breaking. Honestly who else in Sierra Leone has easy access to legal representation? Probably the rich or those with 'connections'. Unfortunately access to legal representation for children and young girls is not an issue that is taking centre stage in our political discourse. I think our politicians have to acknowledge that injustice was a leading cause of the war. Someone has to push this issue on the agenda and I am glad you young lawyers and AdvocAid are taking the centre stage. Well done you.