One of the biggest challenges confronting Barbados??? juvenile justice system is keeping parents involved in the lives of their children before and after they come into conflict with the law.
Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, made this point on Monday as he addressed the launch of the upcoming National Conference on Juvenile Justice, to be held in April.
Mr. Brathwaite, who is also Attorney General, disclosed that the proposed amended Juvenile Justice Bill will mandate that parents be involved in the process after a child enters the criminal justice system.
???This is not an issue that can [only] be addressed by the criminal justice system. These are issues that we need to get parents involved, we need to get the church involved, we need to get the NGOs [non-governmental organisations] involved???,??? the Minister said.
He added that the conference was also expected to provide opportunities for the education of parents and families about the importance of them playing a continuous role in the lives of their children.??In sharing his vision with the media, Mr. Brathwaite stated that he wanted all stakeholders to come together to determine how they could help the young rather, than create an adversarial system.
???[So] that if a young man [or young woman] comes into contact with us, we have the Police involved from early; we have probation, the prosecutor, the Magistrate, the parents; all the actors sitting down and chatting to see how we could help this young man or young lady, as opposed to how quickly we can get him or her incarcerated,??? the Minister explained.
However, he acknowledged that it was no ???straightforward journey???, as a shift in mindset was needed, and could only be obtained through the training of all stakeholders. The National Conference on Juvenile Justice will be hosted by Government and the United Nations Children???s Fund at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, from Tuesday, April 21, to Thursday, April 23, under the theme: Redefining Juvenile Justice ??? Towards a Better Future.