Thirty officers of the Senior Correctional Centre are attending a five-day training to enhance their capacity in the management of juvenile offenders.
The training is also to help the senior officers on how to reform and rehabilitate young people who break the laws and re-integrate them into society.
Mrs Susan Sabaa, the Executive Director of the Child Research and Resource Centre (CRRCENT), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said the collaboration between the police and prisons to curb crime had not yielded much result, hence the increase in the number of persons, especially juveniles, who fall back into crime.
Punishment for crime had not solved the problem, thus, the basis for CRRCENT to intervene to deal with the root cause.
Financing apprentices, referral for counselling, re-bonding parents and families, and providing start-up packs, among other things, were the intervention measures, she said.
There is also the need to ensure behavioural change by responding to the children’s development needs when they were reformed and rehabilitated.
The training would, therefore, serve as a tool for the correctional workers to boost their child management skills.
Dr Mavis Asare, a Clinical Health Psychologist of the Progressive Life Centre, an NGO, said the victims were young people with potential, intelligence and dreams to achieve higher laurels but landed in criminal activities because they could not realise their dreams.
‘Their behaviours are inherited, that is personality disorders from family members, observation from others, depression and anxiety manifesting themselves as delinquency or criminal behaviour.
‘Symptoms of depression make them aggressive and some cause harm to themselves whilst others direct the harm unto others.
‘It is society that has failed them and it should re-integrate them because all juveniles are not given equal opportunities, otherwise they would make it,’ Dr Asare said.
She said some had also become recidivists because they had adapted and did not respond to punishment and called for alternate measures to control their behaviour.
Dr Asare said weak policies and non-implementation of others were causing child delinquency.
Mrs Sheila Menka-Premo, the Children and Women’s Rights Advocate, and Chairperson for the occasion, said most law breakers were angry with the system for the unfair share of the national cake, thereby attacking innocent citizens.
Criminogenic behavioural change, she noted, was essential for the officers to help reform the juveniles before they complete their term in the Borstal homes.
She appealed to the participants to take the training seriously so as to positively impact on the inmates to become better citizens and not go back to the prisons as adult offenders.
In their solidarity messages, Mr Samuel Amankwa, the Director of the Ministry of the Interior, suggested that the implementation of the Child Friendly Curriculum, introduced by the Ghana Police Service to help handle young offenders, if successful, should be extended to the Prisons Service.
Mr Asum-Kwarteng Ahensah, the Acting Country Director of Plan-Ghana, said his organisation, as a development partner, was bent on giving lasting solution to the sector than ‘scratching the surface’.
Deputy Director of Prisons, Mr Alhassan Nahii, thanked Ashmore Foundation, a Charity Organisation, for funding the programme.