The Correctional Youth Centre (CYC) for Girls, a safe and secure correctional facility for 16 delinquent juveniles up to the age of 18, was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs Fazila Daureeawoo, in the presence of the Acting Commissioner of Prisons, Mr J. Rungadoo.
The construction of the CYC Girls is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which establishes rights for all children less than 18 years of age (Article 1) and includes special protections for children in conflict with the law. The Government of Mauritius has made a commitment to respect, protect and fulfil the rights contained therein.
In her address, Mrs Daureeawoo, said that the correctional facility can help in victim empowerment by meeting victims' emotional needs. 'The probation service offers to the juvenile delinquents the supervision needed to make their society integration easier. The children receive vocational training and can practice activities that help them to get self-discipline and the responsibility sense', she added.
Furthermore, the Minister stated that it is necessary to review the rehabilitation programme of the young offenders as well as the working conditions of the staff. She also said that a strategic plan has already been presented to Cabinet for the upgrading of the rehabilitation programme for the young offenders.
For his part, the Acting Commissioner of Prisons Mr. J. Rungadoo, stated that the participation of parents, guardians and close relatives will be encouraged in the outreach programme in a bid to strengthen family ties. He also appealed to officers to be positive role models and shower love and compassion when dealing with young offenders.
'In the best interest of the child, we try, as best as possible, to create a healthy and conducive environment for the young wards despite their circumstances. We shall look into alternative to traditional penitentiary which will help juveniles become productive. We aim to develop innovative systems for responding to all juvenile offenders below that age which genuinely focus on their education, reintegration and rehabilitation', he said.
The Correctional Youth Centre for Girls
The correctional facility, to the tune of Rs 3,7 million, will provide care, supervision and treatment to youth in a manner that recognises the unique needs of the adolescent. It will place a strong emphasis on youth accepting responsibility for their actions and gaining individual competencies that will help them to avoid further offending behaviours. The youth will be challenged to fully realise and utilise their talents, knowledge, abilities and skills in the facility and upon release to meet their work, education and personal goals.
The CYC for Girls will help youth in conflict with the law through appropriate programs and services. The new facility will offer teaching, cultural ceremonies as well as education, anger management and life skills programs. It will provide young girls with more effective programmes and more opportunities for rehabilitation.
The officers of the Prison department will be responsible for developing activities outside of school that provide youth opportunities for personal growth. They will be asked to act as positive role models, actively lead physically and emotionally challenging activities, thus addressing the youth unique issues in life, focusing on developing critical thinking skills, developing healthy relationships, finding inner strength, and setting goals.