HomeLocal NewsProgramme to wean juvenile offenders from crime launched

Programme to wean juvenile offenders from crime launched

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THE Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs yesterday launched a pilot pre-trial diversion programme to wean off juvenile offenders from the formal justice system.

REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER

Launching the programme in Harare on behalf of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana said it targeted young offenders under the age of 21 years.

In his address, Tomana said Cabinet approved the programme in 2009 following complaints that exposing juvenile and young offenders to hardcore criminals often hardened them and at times led them to receiving unfair trials.

“It can take place before an arrest, or can be initiated before a matter goes to court or before a matter is set down for trial. The intention is to find a non-court way of supporting a young person to take responsibility for their behaviour,” said Tomana.

“This programme therefore aims at providing children with the opportunity to take responsibility for their anti-social behaviour, while also addressing the other social, family and community factors that are contributing to their behaviour, subsequently reducing re-offending.

“The target group of the programme is young persons under the age of 21 years who have been arrested for offences not considered to be serious, and which would ordinarily attract a sentence of 12 months or less within the formal criminal justice system.”

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