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Custodial Sanctions for Juveniles Under the JJA

Given the welfare approach to the treatment of juveniles, separate types of institutions were created: observation homes (pretrial detention centers), special homes (facilities for adjudicated delinquents), and juvenile homes (residences for neglected children). If juveniles were not released on bail, the arresting officer or the juvenile court would refer them to an observation home (Menon 1990). The observation homes were also used to house neglected and dependent children before a final determination by the JWB.

Upon being adjudicated as delinquent, the juvenile court could send the boys over 14 and girls over 16 to special homes for up to 3 years. The courts could not impose the capital punishment or a prison sentence. The courts, however, could commit older juveniles (14 years of age and above) who had committed serious offenses to be kept in safe custody (JJA 1986, Section 22[1]). Concerning neglected juveniles, a JWB could send a neglected child to a juvenile home until the child reached the age of majority. Aftercare services were available to those who were not under any court or formal supervision, such as accommodation and skill training for possible employment (Janeksela 1991).

Rehabilitation and reintegration for all children shall begin during the length of stay in either the special home or the children’s home. Reintegration is carried out through adoption, foster care, or sponsorship (i.e., supplemental support for families) or through aftercare organizations (The Gazette of India 2000).

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