Muscat: A senior Royal Oman Police (ROP) official has informed that juvenile delinquents are not allowed to mix with other inmates in Samayil Central Prison, as was alleged by some quarters.
Certain places are only designated for the juvenile delinquents in Samayil besides there being another centre for juveniles in Muscat.
Juvenile delinquents receive excellent care and there are rehabilitation and awareness programmes targeted at them. They are also allowed to continue their studies in the prison, said the official.
The official also pointed out that the ROP plans to activate juvenile police in all governorates, aiming to check crimes often committed by juveniles and enhance awareness in the community about educating children.
"The ROP, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Development, is coordinating with specialists from the Ministry of Education to understand the behaviour of the students and help solve any problems."
According to statistics issued by the Public Prosecution, 316 juvenile delinquents committed 181 crimes in 2012 compared to 596 crimes in 2011. Among these, 278 were Omanis and 38 were expatriates. Theft was the most common crimes committed by juveniles.
Shinas topped the wilayats in the number of the juvenile cases, followed by Barka, Saham and Rustaq.
A system was put in place to manage juvenile cases after the issuance of the juvenile Law No. 9/3/2008.
The juvenile law stipulated that any juvenile delinquent can only be tried in a court meant for juveniles and in every court, a competent judge is designated for the purpose. Besides, any such trial should remain confidential.
Also, parents, witnesses, sociologists and lawyers can attend the trial sessions of the juvenile. Publishing photographs of any juvenile in the media is not allowed without express permission of the Public Prosecution. Juvenile delinquents are exempted from fines. Besides, legal counsel is provided to such a person for free.
An official at the Department of Juvenile Affairs, Ministry of Social Development, said that the department is studying the cases involving juveniles and will send its recommendations to the judges who may factor it into their judgement. Also, the department will oversee the implementation of how juveniles are to be taken care of following the trial and sentence.
A source at the Public Prosecution said that juvenile crimes have been on the decrease as a result of awareness programmes and efforts of the authorities concerned to educate and embrace the children.
Observers believe that juvenile care in the early age, mostly provided by the family and school, is the first line of social defence against them committing any crime.
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