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청소년 범죄자의 수감 환경 개선을 위한 활동

2008.04.22

* Working to improve conditions for juvenile prisoners in Cameroon
* 시간: 3분 17초
* 24 Feb 2008

Living life behind bars. Pascal is just one of 85 juvenile inmates doing time in Douala’s Newbell prison. Here they live on top of each other. They sleep, eat and wash in an area meant for only 30 prisoners. An open sewer runs through their cellblock, the roof leaks, and all the mattresses are lice ridden. In Yaounde’s Central prison some boys are forced to sleep on the floor.

SOUNDBITE (French) Pascal, 14 years old:
“It’s crowded, there are not enough places to sleep, some boys have to sleep on benches.”

Pascal is only 14 years old. He was arrested for stealing, and although he’s been here for over 10 months, he has still not been tried. Many of the boys are here for even lesser crimes such as begging or smoking and unless they are able to pay bribes, they too wait months and sometimes even years for their day in court.

17 year old Bernard has been here for over three years, it took 2 of those years for his case to get to court, and now with 9 months to go until the end of his sentence, he feels he’s lost out on life.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bernard, 17 years old:
“My mother used to visit me, then I heard that she had died, since then no one comes to visit me.”

Apart from the inhumane conditions, minors are also vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse by older inmates. HIV and Aids are rampant.

But UNICEF in partnership with Cameroon’s ministry of Social Affairs is working to improve conditions for minors in the country’s prisons. Televisions, educational materials, books, beds and blankets have been provided while UNICEF trains judicial, police and prison officers on the correct treatment of children in conflict with the law.

But the ultimate aim is to get Cameroon’s children out of prison and in to rehabilitation centers. Preparation is under way for one such center in Douala.

SOUNDBITE (English) Asana Rebecca Ngwenyi, Douala Rehabilitation Center Director:
“The minors go into prison in the primary stage of delinquency, but instead of being rehabilitated, they go into the second stage of delinquency, if they are placed here we can get them out of delinquency and place them back into the normal circle of life in society”

The centre will cater to 100 boys from prisons in and around Douala and will provide schooling, workshops and most importantly, space. While they will be under constant surveillance – with one social worker come warder to every ten boys – they at least will have a better chance at life.

Back in Newbell prison, Bernard’s painting depicts a freedom he has not known for three long years. Eventually he will be let ou

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