What You Need To Know:
✅ Ukraine's juvenile courts are being reformed in an attempt to tackle high reoffending rates and help minors reintegrate into society
✅ Under a trial project, a courtroom in Ivano-Frankivsk has been redesigned to support juniors accused of a crime
✅ In August 2015, a law 'on probation' came into force, aiming to develop new strategies to treat young offenders and prevent youth crime
A court in the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk is reforming the way juniors accused of committed crimes, are treated in the dock. The changes are part of broader efforts to build an effective juvenile justice system, professional support groups and develop relevant legislation.
Lev Kyshakevych, a judge in Ivano-Frankivsk explains why minors should be treated differently to adults.
"People can’t understand that we’re working on behalf of society in order to help juniors to stay a part of it. Children can make mistakes or commit crimes because they are on a different development level. ", Mr. Kyshakevych told Hromadske's RE:FORM program.
In the revamped courtroom, cages and podiums no longer exist. A special room with microphones has been built so integrations of the accused can be conducted away from the prosecution.
Ukrainian MP Iryna Lutsenko also stressed improvements are needed in the juvenile court system to prevent minors re-offending again.
"And how to make a child take responsibility? Figuratively speaking, maybe it is better to give him or her a broom so they can clean the streets. Or maybe it's better to force a child to issue an apology. Maybe it’s better when a child will look into the eyes of a person whom he\she offended and then make a decision? Instead of it, we give a fine or lock them up, and make them think they are criminals", Ms. Lutsenko told Hromadske
"After that, children are released from prison, and they are angered by all society, by the state, classmates, and friends. How will people turn out? When a child goes to jail, he becomes a criminal. After that, relapse happens in a half of cases. It’s a high statistic. Let’s allow the state to help a child to avoid this cliche and not to become a criminal in adulthood"
A new law 'on probation' came into force in August 2015. As part of the bill, offenders not kept behind bars can be enrolled into educational and social programs, helped by social services or forced to do 'correctional labor'.
A link to the full report (with English subtitles) can be found here