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Reformatory facilities are not prisons

THE ENTIRE system of youth correctional facilities does not respect children’s interests and should be reconsidered, according to Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová pointing to outcomes of her report, based on visits to all six re-education facilities in Slovakia.

THE ENTIRE system of youth correctional facilities does not respect children’s interests and should be reconsidered, according to Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová pointing to outcomes of her report, based on visits to all six re-education facilities in Slovakia.

“Re-educational centres should serve as a help for children so they are provided better conditions for their education and so that they find their place in life, and not as punishment facilities,” Dubovcová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Dubovcová summoned a press conference on September 25 to announce the outcomes of a long-term probe into the entire system. The probe was carried out during the course of 2013 and between March-May 2014 with the aim to find out whether the young people sent to these facilities have their personal freedoms and rights restricted in any way, according to the TASR newswire.

The checks revealed serious shortcomings in nearly all the monitored facilities including the practice of physical punishment, the restricted use of toilets, enforced gynaecological examinations and forcing children to wear red attire as a sign that they have breached the rules, according to TASR.

Another problem is the lack of proper work with children’s families which are often responsible for their behaviour. After living in those centres children return back to their original environment and the whole energy spent on them is useless, according to Dubovcová, SITA reported.

Reform schools also do not have a system to deal with children suffering from psychiatric disorders, according to Viktor Vicena, head of Hlohovec-based facility for children and young people with behavioural problems.

“Our facilities are not even ready to handle such kids,” Vicena said, as quoted by TASR. “If a child has serious issues ... we should first deal with this, and only then proceed with vocational education.”

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