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MEC alarmed at number of children behind bars in Western Cape

File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 7, 2019

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Cape Town – Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz has expressed concern over the significant number of children, juveniles and young people incarcerated in the province. 

Fritz said that children should, as far as possible, not be detained and that society should work together to ensure incarceration is the last option for young people.   

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Recent statistics, provided by the Department of Correctional Services, showed that there are a significant number of children (persons under the age of 18) and juveniles (people between the ages of 18 and 20 years) who are detained in prison. 

Of those remanded detainees, nine are children, 799 juveniles and 2 405 are between 21 and 25 years old. Of those sentenced, seven are children, 387 juveniles and 2 742 are between the ages of 21 and 25 years. 

Remanded and sentenced children are currently detained in Brandvlei Youth, Drakenstein Medium B, Pollsmoor Medium A and Mosselbaai prisons. 

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Fritz said: “The bedrock of a safe society is one where there is a compendium of services, opportunities and support for all young people. 

"This requires families, religious organisations, NGOs, private business, government and good citizens to work Better Together to safeguard our young people, give them positive alternatives and keep them away from gangs, criminal syndicates and drug dealers. 

 “My Department, together with the Western Cape government, will continue to uplift young people and keep them out harm's way through youth cafes, ICAN and MOD centres, partial and afterschool care, the Youth and Safety Religious Programmes (YSRP) and the Chrysalis Youth Academy.” 

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Fritz said that, under his leadership, the Department of Community Safety will continue to use every tool at its disposal to improve the safety of young people in the Western Cape.

Cape Times

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