Juvenile Justice Bill seeks to repeal Juvenile Offenders Act
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, March 15, 2018
The Juvenile Justice Bill 2018, which seeks to repeal the Juvenile Offenders Act and the Training Schools Act was today read for the first time in the National Assembly by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.
The Act seeks to amend and consolidate the law in relation to criminal justice for juveniles and make provision for proceedings with respect to young offenders and provide for the establishment of facilities for the custody, education, and rehabilitation of these offenders.
In relation to criminal capacity, the Bill stipulates that no child under the age of twelve shall be capable of or guilty of committing an offence.
Where a child is charged, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Prosecutor or the Attorney-at-law representing the child shall request of the court that an evaluation of the child be done.
The court will then order that the evaluation is conducted by a suitably qualified person at the expense of the State.
According to the Bill, “The evaluation shall include an assessment of the cognitive, emotional, psychological and social development of the child… The person who conducts the evaluation may be called to attend the court proceedings and to give evidence and, if called, shall be remunerated by the State.”
The Bill is expected to decriminalise offences such as truancy and wandering and deal with issues of youth sentencing.
Minister Ramjattan had noted that these are economic crimes, which young people should not be penalised for.
Overall the Bill aims to have a modern Juvenile Justice system that conforms with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
By: Stacy Carmichael