Law enforcement agencies amongst other stakeholders have been called upon to help reform children, who come into conflict with the law to help make them responsible citizens.

Mr Enock Jengre, a Project Officer at the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), who made the call, said such children were in a vulnerable position, and therefore, needed to be reformed and re-integrated into society after being detained either at the Senior or Junior Correctional Centres.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a day’s training programme organised in Accra by the LRC, a human rights non-governmental organisation, and attended by selected personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

The training was to enlighten the personnel of the GIS to employ innovative and advanced methods to properly handle children in conflict and contact with the law, issues on trafficking of children, docket preparation and handling.

It formed part of a three-year project dubbed: “Justice for Children: Bridging the Gap between Legislation and Practice”, being implemented by the LRC with funding from the European Union.

Already, selected judges/magistrates and court clerks/interpreters across the country, Prisons Officers of the Senior Correctional Centre and Social Welfare Officers of the Junior Correctional Centre and Officers of the Ghana Police Service have all benefitted from a similar training programme organised by the LRC.

Mr Jengre indicated that the society should see children, who offended the law as those, who needed to be corrected in a child friendly manner and not retributive.

He admitted that those children might have offended the law by virtue of the offence committed and might be punished, but added that “The law enforcement agencies should correct the children in a child friendly manner and in the best interest of the child.”

He also called on parents and families of children, who came into conflict with the law, not to disown such children as was the practice in some cases, but should rather support them either in the correctional centres or when discharged to be reformed in a manner that would prevent them from committing similar offences in future.

Mr Jengre said “When these children realise that despite the crime committed, their families are still doing everything possible to assist them reform and be better citizens in future, they would develop a positive attitude and change of behaviour to be useful to the society.”

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