Rehabilitation in the Juvenile Justice System
BA LLB, 2019-2024
There are four theories of punishment; the rehabilitation theory is one of the theories which has a humanistic approach. The concept lies on the theory that an individual’s criminal behaviour is caused due to a concerning factor. This includes several factors such as their social environment, their psychological progress or biological factors. Understanding one’s upbringing helps identify their relationship towards law. This is important as it helps understanding their behaviour and whether any criminal behaviour had risen due to their free will. The logic is that if a crime had occurred due to an individual’s free will, there is nothing that can be fixed. Theorists of this school of thought believe that imprisonment’s main goal is to educate the offender and reform them rather than imprisoning them for the societal benefit. This approach is way more practical in the long run as it won’t leave many psychological and social scars but rather work on making them a better person who will not be inclined to engage in criminal tendencies. Theorists believe that crime happens when the internal struggle between man and motive of crime occurs, by reformatting you are completely eliminating the intent. Another popular idea in this school of thought is that crime is a disease this means that it can be cured. The Supreme Court in the case of Narotam Singh v. State of Punjab had stated that“Reformative approach to punishment should be the object of criminal law, in order to promote rehabilitation without offending community conscience and to secure social justice.”
A juvenile is an individual who has not reached the age of majority. When a juvenile is caught doing an illegal activity or committing an offence they will only be apprehended and cannot be arrested. A minor between the age of sixteen and eighteen are seen as majors in the eyes of the law and will be tried as an adult for the heinous crimes they have committed. Earlier, there was not a distinction between adults and juvenile in terms of punishment. An individual usually would follow the hierarchy of courts and be tried in a criminal court whereas a juvenile who has been apprehended will be produced before the juvenile justice board which will have the magistrate as chairperson along with two social workers. The magistrate oversees the legal aspect whereas the social worker is present to ensure proper treatment is given to the child. Any juvenile that has interfered with law will be given certain rights in accordance with the child rights convention, which are as followed:
- They will be given humane treatment
- Corporal punishment will not be directed towards them
- On detention there will be a separation from adult criminals
- They will have access to legal aid
- On recognition they will be granted bail as well release
- Their privacy is of upmost importance and will be maintained
- Diversion, a method that is used to divert an offender from the criminal justice system
- A proportionate judgement
- Their sentence will be at an automatic suspension
- Constitutional rights
- Probation which will be granted by the juvenile justice board
- Right against discrimination
- Proceedings will have confidentiality
In order to nurse the child back to society, social organisations as well institutions for childcare work together to provide solutions that can be rehabilitative to the juvenile. The Ministry of women and child development have laid down a standard operating procedure to ensure the same. To further have a thorough check, social worker will regulate the juvenile to see their reintegration into the society.
Rehabilitation helps juveniles rectify their tendencies that can be delinquent in nature. Some societal factors that can be contributed for the same are as follows:
- Sex Indulgence
- Irresistible impulse
- Adolescence instability
- Failure in school
- Associational impact
- Uncongenial homes
By rehabilitation, the individual will get the much-needed guidance they require.
Claim of Juvenility
The claim of juvenility is that the accused was a juvenile on the date of the commission. This is decided by the Juvenile justice board. This claim can be raised in any court and at any stage. The case KualiIbrahim v. state of Coimbatore, it was held by the supreme court that claim of juvenility can even be raised after the case has been disposed as per section 9 of the act. The case, Deoki Nandan Dayma v. State of Uttar Pradesh held that the date of birth in the registered school can be used as evidence while estimating the age of the juvenile. The supreme court reiterated this stance in the case of Sabtir Singh v. State of Haryana . The court in the case of Krishna Bhagwan v. State of Bihar stated that the date of consideration while deciding the age would be on day of which the offence was committed, this decision was immediately overruled in the case of Arnit Das v. State of Bihar that the date of deciding offence would be when the juvenile is brought before a competent authority.
Measures undertaken for rehabilitation
Section 18 of the Juvenile Justice Act entails the rehabilitative measures that are undertaken for the juvenile. In order to implement the needs of the aforementioned section it requires a vast network of varied professionals who need to work hand in hand to facilitate the rehabilitation process. To ensure rehabilitation regular checking up will be done and in order to be re integrated to society they require care in differed means. The UN has spoken in great lengths the importance of making sure the juveniles are diverted from the usual criminal practices. It essentially means that by implementing restorative justice it will heal society and the individuals. Some measures that are undertaken are as follows:
The prevention method addresses the root problems of the behaviour by analysing the family and societal upbringing. Some of the activities that are undertaken for the same are awareness programmes, child line services, Youth clubs, meetings regarding child protection at District, Village and Block level and research to find the stem of all problems.
The diversion methods divert the juvenile offenders from engaging in criminal offences and therefore being stuck in a loop. The activities under this include using diversion as an alternative to detention by engaging in public participation, making options available although it is an exercise that can only be implemented when appropriate. The United Nations standard minimum rules for non-custodial measures or the Tokyo rules give in depth guidelines for the same.
The intervention method are activities that specifically analyse the cause of such behaviour. It promotes social and physical welfare to prevent juvenile delinquency from occurring. This has been classified into three categories. The primary intervention involves care usually early in the childhood, health services, education services and activities for children. The secondary intervention involves Family therapy, watch groups, family drug abuse prevention program and education centres for the same, foster families and social interventions. The tertiary interventions include care and guidance, temporary shelter, social therapeutic programs, reparation and restitution, counselling, participating in life skills classes along with vocational training and attendance on seminars for topics such as anger management and conflict skills. The program is diverse in nature to meet the needs of the children and to resolve any conflict they will have with the law.
Some activities that are undertaken during this time are yoga, meditation, personality development, counselling, vocational training, computer training, indulging in short term courses, art and craft therapy, cultural gathering, dance, farming along with animal husbandry, sports, recreation such as television and indoor game. Towards the end of this process, a juvenile receives an individual care plan this is prescribed under section 39 .It addresses their needs which is later checked upon in an investigation to make sure they do not put themselves in difficult situations or get back in their ways of criminality. One of the key factors in rehabilitation is the role society plays as their attitude towards the individuals should not vary. There also exist rehabilitation centres and group foster homes along with mental and medical care.
The last step is the after care. A social worker will create a checklist to see the juvenile’s educational qualifications and employable skills. The juvenile justice act defines after care as “making provision of support, financial or otherwise, to persons, who have completed the age of eighteen years but have not completed the age of twenty-one years, and have left any institutional care to join the mainstream of the society”.
The legal system provides an in-depth solution regarding rehabilitation of juveniles. The reformative care is detailed which currently shows no need for improvement. India has taken a very wise stance in separating the treatment of adult offenders and juvenile. The reformative theory works great on juveniles as it helps to shape their minds prior to reaching a certain level of maturity and understanding. One of the primary problems prisoners face is their reintegration to society. The Juvenile justice system has completely eliminated the problem. A suggestion the author can give to aid in aftercare of a juvenile is the maintenance of a comprehensive database so the individuals can be regularly monitored.
Owing to the success the juvenile system has in reformation, the Indian criminal system must make a slow integration to adult offenders and tailor to their needs to see its effect and hope that the reformative theory can be used as standard practise in India.
- What are the five major types on Criminal Punishment?point park university online (Oct 7th.2021) https://online.pointpark.edu/criminal-justice/types-of-criminal-punishment/
- Tanu Priya, Refromative theory of punishment,academike (Oct 7th.2021) https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/reformative-theory-of-punishment/
- Narotam Singh v State of Punjab AIR 1978 SC 1542
- KualiIbrahim v state of Coimbatore AIR 2014 SC 2726
- Deoki Nandan Dayma v State of Uttar Pradesh 1997 SCC 525
- Sabtir Singh v State of Haryana AIR 2005 SC 3549
- Krishna Bhagwan v State of Bihar AIR 1989
- Arnit das v State of Bihar AIR 2000 SC 748
- Rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law (Oct 7th. 2021) https://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/SOP%20ON%20REHABILITATION%20OF%20CHILDREN%20IN%20CONFLICT%20WITH%20THE%20LAW_0.pdf