Quality of child care at the country’s borstal homes questioned


Child Rights International, a children’s NGO, is raising concerns over the quality of care being given children in remand homes and correctional facilities in the country.

Research into the operations and management of Remand Homes and Correctional Centres in the country revealed challenges such as lack of funds, limited education facilities, poor feeding and health care.

The research shows dire constraints at the Cape Coast Boys and Girls Remand Home, Agona-Swedru Junior Boys Correctional Centre and Accra Junior Girls Correctional Centre and Boys Remand Home.

Speaking to JoyFm, the Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah explained that unlike the senior correctional facilities which receive feeding allowances and provide some sort of vocational training for inmates, Junior correctional facilities; which house children between the ages of twelve (12) and sixteen (16) years, are not given the necessary funding by government to provide for these needs.

Speaking on the failure of government to provide feeding fees, he said “Children are not being fed well and they are not being given access to education that they deserve and also their health condition is not the best.

“The policy is that Government is supposed to give an allowance for persons committed to the institute but [the] realisation is that Junior correctional centres have not received feeding allowances.”

Mr. Appiah bemoaned the limit of access to education by the inmates. Senior correctional centres will help inmates sit for BECE but the junior correctional centres do not, denying children access to education.

“You cannot limit children from having access to education. You also cannot limit them in terms of what they want to do.”

He drew attention to the fact that the children, upon serving their terms at the facilities, do not leave with the necessary skills to enable them be re-integrated into society.

“Clearly if we are not careful and do not provide them with the facilities that they need in order to support them, in terms of the integration process, then it means that we will send children to the home [juvenile correction centres] and then make them criminals.

Mr. Appiah insisted that the deficiencies mean the inmates are not able to go through the reformation process properly and that “Something needs to be done about [the situation] so that we rectify some of the things that [these] children are going through”.

He suggested that the legal system should consider “diversion” instead of committing children to correctional facilities. For instance, he suggested that “kids can do community work and serve and interact with the community so they can [continue to] have access to education”.

 
 

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