Mrs. Victoria Adzewodah, the Chief Superintendent of Prisons Senior Correctional Centre, has appealed to parents to come for their children after undergoing correctional changes to be able to put up their best.
She said prison officers recognised the importance of cohesion and harmony between the family and the community, as the child’s welfare was a shared responsibility of the household and the community hence, the need for children’s protection.
Mrs. Adzewodah speaking at a training workshop for the Ghana Prisons Service in Accra on Monday said the underlining factor that made the boys come in contact with the law was because of the neglect of parents and there was therefore the need for them to be protected.
The training was on the theme: “Justice for Children: Bridging the Gap Between Legislation and Practice.
“The boys are not criminals by nature, but society made them so, so if their families do not receive them back they will go back to the community and our efforts would be fruitless,” she stated.
She said the service was doing its best to reform the boys as some have been enrolled in basic school, others undergoing skills training and many more, but needed the support of all to equip them.
Mrs. Adzewodah called on churches and mosques to talk to parents to receive the boys and handle them well to stay.
She also called for a rehabilitation centre or a half way home for the boys to stay after they leave the place to enable them re-integrate into society.
The Project, organised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), a Non-Governmental Organisation in partnership with the European Union seeks to strengthen capacities of Security agencies within the Juvenile Justice System and ensure that the rights of children in conflict and in contact with the law are protected.
It is targeted at the Ghana Prisons Services, junior and probation officers, social welfare officers as well as stakeholders.
It is also aimed at strengthening the ability of the security agencies to assess child related cases in a manner which is geared towards the best interest of the child consistently with the law and human rights principles.
Madam Daphne Lariba Nabila, the Executive Director LRC, encouraged the officers to practice what they had acquired to ensure that children, the very foundation of Ghana’s future, were given opportunity to become functioning and reproductive members of society.
She said all must look out for the best interest of children and ensure that every decision made on their behalf would not affect them negatively.
The Ghanaian child protection system is outdated and was modeled after the European traditions rather than Ghanaian traditions.
Over time it had become clear that the system is ineffective and not suited to the needs of Ghana’s citizens.
The officers where trained on the framework of the Juvenile Justice Act, the legal system of Ghana, legal aid and services provided, responsibilities of the security agencies, implementation and practical considerations on the need to report child abuse and protection to the social welfare department.