The lack of a facility to house juvenile offenders continues to be of major concern to Barrister-at-Law Anslem Clouden.
The city Barrister who has constantly been voicing the need for young offenders not to be placed with seasoned and hardened criminals at the Richmond Hill Prison, believes government is not giving priority to the rehabilitation and reform of young offenders.
During a recent appearance on a GBN television program, the outspoken attorney complained that offenders as young as 13-years old are seen going in and out of prison.
He spoke of these young people not being properly rehabilitated and were returning to society ten times worse than they went into prison.
Recently, Minister of Social Development, Delma Thomas told the local media that the Bacolet Juvenile Centre in St. Andrew’s is now likely to be functional in the first quarter of 2015.
Clouden also made out a case for there to be a juvenile court in the country.
He feared that if the situation facing juvenile offenders is not arrested by having an institution that can develop the youth of the country who are engaged in criminal activity in reform and rehabilitating them, then there will be a very terrible society in 20-years from now.
President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) Ruggles Ferguson who also addressed the situation supported his colleague’s call for a serious program to be administered for juvenile offenders.
Ferguson disclosed that a critical piece of legislation that will soon be enacted is currently up for discussion.
He was referring to the Juvenile Justice Act which he said contains many laudable features.
He said the act makes provisions from the time of detention to the time of sentencing of the individual but he is not too sure if Grenada has the physical facility to be able to support the act.