Police’s hands-off approach to juvenile offenders is due to lack of structures to support the Child Justice Act, Azille explains

An educator is expressing the opinion that the structures which need to be in place to support certain legislation are not.

The Child Justice Act was implemented to deal with the reform of youth who run afoul of the law and to establish for child-offenders a system that is based on restorative justice.

However, concerned adults are questioning its effectiveness, with some accusing police officers of adopting too much of a hands-off approach when dealing with delinquent young people.

But, contrary to the belief of many, the Act does not render the police powerless, says Ashworth Azille, principal of the Clare Hall Secondary School.

Rather, he says, they are hampered by the lack of support for the legislation – since certain structures, to date, have not been put in place.

Azille references the Youth Intervention Centre, which reportedly is under-resourced.  He commends the officers in the Unit for working in less than favorable conditions and with no proper resources; but he says it is nonsensical to introduce legislation without having the resources required to make it effective.  

The principal points out that a proper place to hold offenders under the age of 16 years is not even in place – other than the prison. Therefore, the police are forced to release them into the custody of their parents while matters are proceeding to have a case heard.