Rehab juveniles to serve in police once 18

Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusan; the minister while speaking at the 'Ahaa' Forum's third program highlighted the government's plan to establish a long-term care facility to rehabilitate juvenile offenders -- Photo/PSM

Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusan on Monday, revealed the state's plans to implement a new policy mandating juveniles under going rehabilitation treatment to serve in the Maldives Police Service or Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) once they turn 18 years of age.

While speaking at the third program of 'Ahaa' Forum launched by the current administration, Minister Ihusan said the government decided to lower the criminal culpability age to 12 due to the high number of juvenile offenders below the age of 15.

"Our vision is to change the criminal culpability age to 12 years and above, and enlist these juveniles to rehabilitation," the minister commented.

Ihusan revealed the ministry was now working to establish a long-term care facility to rehabilitate juveniles. He added as per the plan, the facility will be located in a separate island where young offenders would be transferred for rehabilitation and treatment, where they would be provided with age-appropriate, basic and religious education as well as skills development.

While they remain at the facility until they turn 18, the children will be encouraged to bond with their families.

"We plan to mandate their enlistment to the military or police once they turn 18, where they would serve for five years after which they will have the freedom to choose any field they prefer," the minister added.

According to the minister, if the vision President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu is executed successfully, it would reduce the involvement of teenage delinquents in criminal gangs or other criminal activities.

The minister earlier on April 6th, announced government's plans of reducing criminal culpability age to between 12 and 15 years following a violent case of bullying reported from Alifu Alifu atoll Rasdhoo.

A group of teenagers had verbally abused and attacked another minor inside a mosque amid Tarawih prayers.

Police earlier confirmed the culprits of the incident are aged 13 and 14 years.

The minister earlier claimed over 200 criminal offenders across Maldives were below the age of 18.

According to the minister, development of a long-term care facility is enforced through the Juvenile Justice Act, and added juvenile offenders should be detached from the rest of the community for treatment and rehabilitation before they are re-integrated into the society.