Junior inmates of juvenile and observation homes may be influenced to enter the world of crime by seniors who stay along with them, warned a report prepared for the Kerala State Legal Services Authority.
The report was prepared following an order of Manjula Chellur, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala and C.N. Ramachandran Nair, former executive chairman of Kerala State Legal Services Authority. There are eight children’s homes, 14 observation homes, one Balasadanam, two special homes, three After Care Homes and three institutions for children who need special care.
The Juvenile Justice Boards are not taking care of the mental and psychological aspects of the inmates of the institutions. The institutions do not have separate study rooms. They are not even provided sufficient furniture. The ill-educated staff of these institutions do not understand the psychology of the children, the report said.
The report prepared by a team comprising Prabha Sagar, psychologist, Bindu Sreekumar, mediator/counsellor and R.Vishnu, Yoga trainer, appointed by the Kerala State Legal Services Authority and the Department of Prisons, also found that the education and development of skills children of these homes were not given importance.
The study found that observation homes did not have compound walls. The training modules for vocational training of inmates were obsolete and warranted modernisation.
The report suggested that Children’s Homes and other Homes should give the children love, protection and security and a family atmosphere that takes care of their emotional and mental aspects. The service of psychologists and psychiatrists should be taken for taking care of the mental health of children. Only those persons with special skills in dealing with children should be appointed staff of the institutions, it suggested.
The panel, which also looked into the health and mental health issues faced by prisoners in the jails, reported that 25 per cent female prisoners suffered neurotic disorder.