Correctional institutions are unacceptable for children who have committed serious crimes. “We locked the old ones, but the problem remained!”

Correctional institutions are unacceptable for children who have committed serious crimes. “We locked the old ones, but the problem remained!”
Correctional institutions are unacceptable for children who have committed serious crimes. “We locked the old ones, but the problem remained!”
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Photo. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

18:15, 3 February 2024

The harsh reality of life is that we taught to lock up all the former correctional institutions because of violations, but we did not actually create alternatives. Basically, we ourselves as a society are complicit in the tragedy that happened in Jurmala. Such a thesis was put forward by the TV24 program “Ziņu top”, which Lieni Dambiņu, chairman of the board of the “Children and Adolescent Resource Center”, asked to comment on.

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She agrees that this is absolutely the responsibility of all of us, of course. “About locking and creating in place – it’s very complicated. Creating an institution in a place that the Ministry of Justice calls a therapeutic home is not easy at all!”

We see that tragic situations develop with 13, 12 and 11-year-old children, says Dambiņa, adding that this is a question of human resources, not premises or that physical resources would be a big problem.

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“I think from the state’s point of view, funding should not be a big problem either. If we understand how much it is necessary – this kind of support for different children, so that they still have the opportunity to integrate into society after that,” says the specialist.

The reason for the closure of the Naukšēni school at that time was the highlighted violations of adult professionals, unethical actions and the like, but haven’t we basically lost a whole generation of professionals who were able to go in that direction and work? How can you understand what is right and wrong in such an institution?

“It is clear that adults must take responsibility for what they do. If they saw that they could not provide these children with such conditions in this institution that would really help them to recover, then they simply had to speak loudly themselves in the media or try to solve the situation in a different way,” this is how Dambiņa models the ideal development of the situation in Naukšēni.

She believes that the argument that we don’t have the resources, we couldn’t do this and that, but at the same time use methods that really don’t help the child, is a question of professionalism.

“Responsibility must be taken! Both the environment and the human resources that will work, hopefully very soon, in the new therapeutic house, which will be built from scratch, will be created – a professional team will be needed there. At the moment, there is a lot of information, with what knowledge, with what methods should work with these children, there is foreign experience. All that remains is to do!” summarizes the specialist.

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Tags: Correctional institutions unacceptable children committed crimes locked problem remained

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