Revisiting the Policies Concerning Treatment of Children in Conflict with the Law in the Philippines The Philippine Juvenile Justice • Children offenders are treated differently from adults • “excuse de minorite” • formative years (Khatiwad, 2005) Children in Conflict with the Law • Children who are “alleged as, accused of, or adjudged as, having committed an offense under Philippine laws” (RA 9344). • 15 years and 1 day old or above but below eighteen (18) years of age who commits an offense with discernment. The Philippine Juvenile Justice – Theft – Attempted murder – Robbery – Physical Injuries – Rape – Illegal possession of fire arms – Prohibited drugs – Acts of Lasciviousness – Homicide Total Number of Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) CY 1999-2004 (Plan Philippines, 2006) Year Number of Children in Conflict with the Law 1999 3747 2000 5017 2001 5895 2002 5556 2003 4279 2004 2906 • Theoretical roots of the Juvenile Justice System—Restorative Justice. • Policies of the Philippine Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 • Challenges that seem to hold back the successful adoption of restorative justice as the underlying philosophy of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006. Restorative Justice • Process “where all the stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm” (Braithwaite 2004). Restorative Justice • participation of both parties—the offender and the victim • The intervention of criminal justice professionals—lawyers, police forces, social workers, judges—must not play the primary role in the process and must rather be de- centralized. Barton (2000) (1)Reversal of moral disengagement (2) Social and moral development (3) Emotional and moral psychological healing (4) Reintegrative shaming Policies of Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344) • The Act states in its declaration of state policy that “[t]he State shall apply the principles of restorative justice in all its laws, policies and programs applicable to children in conflict with the law” (Sec 2). Practice of Restorative Justice: Reparation of victim • (1) Restitution of property • (2) Reparation of the damage caused • (3) Indemnification for consequential damages • (4) Written or oral apology. Practice of Restorative Justice: Reparation of offender • (5) Care, guidance and supervision orders; • (6) Counseling for the child in conflict with the law and the child's family; • (7) Attendance in trainings, seminars and lectures on: anger management skills; problem solving and/or conflict resolution skills; values formation; and other skills which will aid the child in dealing with situations which can lead to repetition of the offense; • (8) Participation in available community-based programs, including community service; • (9) Participation in education, vocation and life skills programs. Practice of Restorative Justice: Diversion Programs • This process “refers to an alternative, child- appropriate process of determining the responsibility and identifying ways of managing a child in conflict with the law without resorting to formal court proceedings (DSWD, 2008). Practice of Restorative Justice: Diversion Programs • “The offender experiences justice in a very real way by facing his/her victim, confronting the offence and hopefully working out a solution that is acceptable and mutually beneficial to all parties concerned” (Save the Children UK, 2004). Victim-Offender negotiation • 1. First phase - the mediator talks with the offender and victim separately, with the intention of helping to reach a point where they are prepared to meet face to face, to search together for some solution to their conflict. • 2. Second phase - there is direct negotiation between the offender and the victim, but the mediator is often present as an unbiased facilitator Examples in Metro Manila • Community and Barangay Tanod -Informal talks with the child, giving him/her advice • Police -Encourage parents of child to talk with the Complainant and for the latter to settle the case • Court and Prosecution -During pre-trial stage, ask the complainant to settle the case Restorative Justice and RA 9344 • The CICL becomes ashamed of his/her offense in a reintegrative way—the child understands the damage caused to the victim and society without being defensive. Restorative Justice and RA 9344 • Re-learn to absorb the society’s values through the values formation lectures. • develop emotional and moral psychological healing in the training, seminars and lectures on anger management skills, problem-solving and/or conflict resolution skills etc. Challenges • “[T]o bring together victim, offender and community in a process that will restore and heal the damage experienced from the reality of criminal behavior, it says much less concerning the social and cultural contexts in which criminal behavior occurs” (Acorn, 2004 as cited in Polizzi, 2008). Challenges: Professional take-over • Societies tend to enforce what is ideal; • Prevention of the potential delinquencies through social controls (Shoemaker, 2000) Challenges: Professional take-over • Challenge in the initiative of the stakeholders- especially the offenders • [L]ikely to have experienced abuse and neglect in their own homes and in their immediate environments… (Save the Children UK, 2004) Challenges-Structure • “It is very hard for developing countries [like the Philippines] to improve a juvenile justice system, when they are already struggling with scarce resources” (Murdoch-Verwijs, n.d.). Challenges-Structure • Children are still found inside adult jails • [CICL ]forced into harsh and dehumanising situations within the adult criminal justice system that expose them to further abuse and tarnish any hope for them to be reintegrated into their families and communities and become responsible and productive citizens (Save the Children UK, 2004) Challenges-Structure - join gangs (UNICEF, 2004) - after their release they went back in the street with more knowledge of crime (Murdoch-Verwijs, n.d.). Conclusion • “A feasible objective is to increase the proportion of actors who are conscious of the virtues of reintegration” (Braithwaite and Mugford, 1994). Conclusion • Simple campaigns and programs from different agencies. • Not through highfaluting theoretical orientations but through dialogues of professionals and the community, using empirical examples from experiences (Shearing and Ericson 1991 as cited in Braithwaite and Mugford, 1994). Conclusion • “[T]he success or failure of a criminal justice intervention . . . depends significantly on the degree to which it allows, or promotes, the realization of the critical factors identified in [restorative justice]” (Barton, 2000) Conclusion • Future works that focus on how different parties can actively participate more on the process of reintegration.
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