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Millennium Post

Correct the correction

In a shocking revelation, the juvenile justice home located in Noida has been brought under harsh public scanner. A recently released 16-year-old boy, made this stunning disclosure, which highlights the utter failure of justice homes located in India. His recorded statement brought to notice the various ways in which young children were repeatedly harassed and tortured at the home, which was meant to provide them with rehabilitation and respite. This glaring fact gains currency in today's society, especially, when we are witnessing a sudden escalation in the instances of juvenile delinquency, while parallelly grappling with the difficult task of containing this tendency. Understanding the source that gives birth to under-age criminal tendencies is not an easy task. The only palpable solution is to provide nourishment and care to the juvenile delinquents and bring them back on the track from which they have gone astray. This is the very purpose with which juvenile homes are set up, at a distance from adult prisons. Punishment is secondary, care and rehabilitation are primary. The actions of a child are less guided by primary rationalisation and are more often, motivated by misguided affiliation to unfiltered content, instances of mental health disbalance, emanating from a life amid abuse and torture. In this case, the role of juvenile justice homes is further accentuated. Yet, falling far behind fulfilling its prescribed role, the Noida juvenile justice home has been extending repeated instances of abuse and torture to the inmates residing within its boundaries. Beating is only the first level, their heads are dunked into the basin, or pots as 'seniors' urinate upon their faces. The children live in dismal hygiene as many have developed skin deficiencies and rashes that refuse to go. The children living here are so afraid that they do not even confide in their visiting families, in the fear of being further beaten or abused. Instead of assisting the children in practising introspection, realising the gravity of their actions, understanding the consequences that can ruin their every day and inculcating methods of rehabilitation—these homes are pushing the children to the brink of further mental trauma that can stoke the fire for more violence and ruthlessness. The entire reality of the home is abysmal, paving the ground for incubating more tendencies of violence and illegality. A District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) inspection on October 7, earlier this year, had brought the dismal state of affairs in these homes to the forefront. The Noida home houses 130 inmates at present, from across Uttar Pradesh. The lives of 130 young children who committed crimes due to their wayward ways, has been in complete jeopardy. This entire process and sustenance of constant torture has been possible only because of the authority's general apathy towards correction homes and the freehand that the officials inside these homes exercise on everyday actions. Our society is failing, every day, to realise the importance of children and preserving their childhood. Adults are capable of balancing consequences and thereafter rationalising thoughts, however, children are less adept at that. Their actions are a direct result of socialisation and the lack of accurate guidance that has not been able to instil in them the fear of committing the wrong or the joy in pursuing the right. We have failed to create a bedrock that is conducive to children growing up in the modern world with constant, unfiltered exposure to the gore and glamour of television and social media. These correction homes, therefore, become essential spaces for the child to rejuvenate their spirit and align themselves back onto the right path to perform the correct actions and prevent themselves from doing wrong. The healing touch that prevention centres are supposed to provide is completely amiss. Instead, they are contributing more to turn these children into individuals who are mentally traumatised, scarred at the deepest levels because of the humiliation met out to them in the spaces that were meant to protect them. This revelation must be a wake-up call for the authorities of our country, who must now step in to alleviate the condition of prisons and juvenile homes. Those accused, deserve a chance at refurbishing their spirit and realigning their lives. It is a shame that in our democracy, our correction homes need more acute correction than criminals themselves.
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