New Delhi, Feb 16 : A report released by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) here today throws light on the pitiful condition of juvenile delinquents languishing in reform homes in India.
Around 5,000 cases against juveniles are pending in courts.
Apart from delayed justice, these children are victims of improper care by reform homes.
Over 50 percent of the juvenile homes do not provide any counseling services to juvenile delinquents, besides more than 80 percent of caretakers at these homes are not trained.
The report was compiled after a detailed study of various juvenile care-centres across the country. The report has suggested that reforms should be undertaken at juvenile homes.
Terming the juvenile care-centres as jails, child-rights activists have suggested that foster care-centres should be set up, where children would lead better lives.
"All children call them (juvenile homes) as jails. They are worse than adult jails. Prisons at least have enough space. For girls, the situation is even worse. A hundred girls are made to spend their entire day inside one small room in name of protection," said Harsh Mander, a child-rights activist.
In 70 percent of the juvenile care-centres, physical punishment is a dominant method to discipline children.
The juveniles recounted the horrors meted out at the centres.
"We used to be locked up 24 hours. We were not allowed to go out. Even if we tried to peep outside the compound, the police would beat us up. We didn't like the place at all," said Vijay, a juvenile delinquent.
The Juvenile Justice Act was introduced in 1986 to establish the basis for a national uniform juvenile justice system, addressing care, protection and treatment of neglected and delinquent juveniles.
In 2006, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act was revised in order to strengthen the previous act and instill a child-centric rehabilitation and family restoration focused system.