When it comes to taking wrong decisions in life, anyone can do so and end up being punished. However, minors are treated differently because being young means they deserve a higher chance to change their lives for better. Juvenile correction facilities are usually reserved for those under the age of eighteen but in Bangladesh there are many cases where young offenders are put away in regular prisons.
Locking up children and adults together is illegal and it is the duty of the probation officers to verify the age of the prisoners but in our country that rarely happens. Sometimes to avoid responsibilities, falsified court orders are followed where the age of the prisoners is increased to eighteen or more.
Prisons for adults and children are vastly different. Minors are kept in correction facilities where they are taught school lessons, the environment is safer and more secure and the children are allowed to interact with their family members. They are also provided with counselling and guidance so that, once released, they can be rehabilitated and can also have improved crime-free lives. The regular prisons are alleged to have drugs and different forms of abuse which can deteriorate the condition of a young prisoner.
Often children are victims of circumstances and do not fully understand the gravity of their crimes. In such cases it is important to make them understand and treat them with utmost care. Many of the juveniles come from poor backgrounds, broken families or are orphaned at a young age. Others take advantage of their vulnerability and exploit these innocent minds.
Instead of labelling them as criminals and condemning them, the underage offenders need to be supported so that they grow up as respected individuals and lead decent lives. For this to happen, it is crucial for the legal system to clearly identify and ensure that juveniles are not erroneously detained and are kept in separate correction centres.