PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home and tribal affairs department has notified the Juvenile Justice System Rules, 2023, which promise the establishment of at least one rehabilitation centre for child offenders in the province’s every divisional headquarters.

Under the rules, which were approved by the caretaker cabinet last month, the rehab centres will have all facilities required for the education, training, psychological development and recreation of juvenile offenders.

According to the notified Rule 17, the juvenile rehabilitation centre will provide accommodation to juvenile offenders with reasonable facilities like bedding, toilets, bathrooms, clothing cleanliness and sanitation.

“If the juvenile court, on the conclusion of an inquiry or trial, finds that the juvenile offender has committed the offence, it may order the juvenile offender to be sent to a juvenile rehabilitation centre to serve a period of sentence prescribed under the judgement,”Rule18 read.

Under Rule 25, juvenile offenders will be given careful individual attention to develop their moral conduct and attitude to become “disciplined, positive, healthy and constructive citizens.”

Also, staff members of the rehab centre will neither use physical force or violence to reprimand any juvenile offender nor will they carry weapons on the premises.

Rule 6 provided for the medical examination in case of absence of substantial material available on record to prove the age of an accused, claiming juvenility, the judge of juvenile court may direct an age determination medical examination by the medical office.

“Being aggrieved from the medical examination report of the medical officer, the juvenile offender or any other person on his behalf may submit an application to the juvenile court to pass an order for re-determination of age by special board,” Rule 2 said .

Also, the health department will set up a special medical board for determining the age of the accused claiming juvenility, where the medical examination report by the medical officer did not stand satisfied. The medical officer and special medical board will submit their finding to the juvenile court within a week of receiving its order to conduct the age determination examination.

Rule 10 of the JJSRs said a juvenile rehabilitation centre under the directions of the juvenile justice committee, would prepare a diversion programme, including adequate and child sensitive socio-cultural and psychological responses and services for the juvenile offender.

“The diversion programme will include elements of non-clinical and clinical psychological support to the offender and the family, attendance in training, anger management skills, problem and conflict resolution skills, values formation and participation in educational, vocational and life skills programmes. A probation officer will supervise the implementation of the diversion programme,” it read.

Rule 12 is about “social investigation” and said the probation officer, after learning about registration of FIR against juvenile offender or the arrest of a juvenile person, would contact the accused and his or her family and investigation officer as soon as possible and inform the offender about his or her social responsibility of resolution of the case through diversion programme as well as investigate about his or her social circumstances.

It added that the initial investigation report would be submitted to the juvenile court within 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2023

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