High Court Judge Fiona Mwale has said with the amendedment of Children and Young Persons Act, juvenile offenders will now be called ‘children in conflict with the law’.
Judge Mwale said the term juvenile had connotations of stigma and criminal phobia.
She said the new term will afford children to rehabilitates.
Mwale, who also chairs the country’s Child Case Review Management Board, said juvenile centres such as Kachere will change its names to child reformatory institution.
Meanwhile, she has bemoaned the state of the Kachere Child Reformatory Centre in Lilongwe, as degrading an inhuman as the facility is in dilapidated state
Mwale, who visited the centre ahead of this year’s Human Rights Day which falls on December 10, has since reiterated calls to have the centre “seriously rehabilitated, if not be completely demolished
The centre, said to have been constructed in the 1930s initially for remanded suspects before it was turned into a juvenile centre around 2004, has a capacity of less than 50 inmates, by design.
The centre’s officer-in-charge, Ellina Bwanali, said Kachere now houses around 200 young offenders.
Child Rights Advocacy and Paralegal Aid Centre (Crapac), executive director Alfred Seza-Muunika cited a time when a wall fell on some young detainees as the best to make changes.