Uninterrupted education of juvenile delinquents made mandatory

South Galolhu MP Mikhail Ahmed Naseem. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

The Juvenile Justice Bill passed by the Parliament makes it mandatory for the state to ensure the education of juvenile delinquents goes uninterrupted despite their detention.

The Juvenile Justice Bill was presented to the Parliament on behalf of the Maldivian government by South Galolhu MP Mikhail Ahmed Naseem. The bill establishes the legal framework to protect children from exposure to a life of crime, ensure a safe environment for children, and charges the state with major responsibilities.

It was passed by the Parliament last week.

Article 16 of the bill stipulates that juvenile delinquents must not be denied their right to education despite their detention. It makes it mandatory for relevant state agencies to ensure their education goes uninterrupted. Article 16 (c) of the bill stipulates that the party in charge of detention of juvenile delinquents, whatever the form of detention may be, is responsible of ensuring their education, as is appropriate based on their age, goes uninterrupted.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. (File Photo/President's Office)

The bill also stipulates that the state must establish an educational system especially for children who are at high-risk of engaging in delinquency, and that the educational system must be designed to nurture cognitive development, interpersonal skills, good decision-making skills, talents, and knowledge.

The state is also required to run educational and awareness programs to protect and remove juvenile delinquents from their life of crime, and rehabilitate and allow them to re-join the community in collaboration with educational institutes, families, and local communities.


Juvenile Justice Bill establishes action which the state is required to take in order to remove juvenile delinquents from their life of crime and prepare them to re-join the community. It promotes juvenile diversion, an intervention strategy that redirects youths away from formal processing in the juvenile justice system, while still holding them accountable for their actions

The bill establishes main 17 courses of action under the juvenile diversion system, which includes making juvenile delinquents verbally apologize to the victims of their crime, and to force the delinquent to attend an educational institute for a specific time period.

Juvenile Court. (File Photo/Sun/Ihthisham Mohamed)

Some of the other courses of action under juvenile diversion includes:

  • Ordering juvenile delinquents to spend time with their parents or guardians for a specific period of time.
  • Ordering juvenile delinquents to abide by an agreement between them and their guardians promising to comport their behavior to a standard which effects improvement to their behavior.
  • Ordering juvenile delinquents to take part in counselling, group counselling and other treatment programs.
  • Making juvenile delinquents take part in a vocational training or rehabilitation program.
  • Ordering juvenile delinquents to compensate their victims.
  • Ordering juvenile delinquents to do a good deed with the consent of their victims to make amends for their crimes.
  • Ordering or making juvenile delinquents take part in a social service program.


Juvenile Justice Bill establishes several key rights to both juveniles suspected of crimes as well as juveniles convicted of crime, foremost of which is the protection of their human dignity.

  • Juveniles must not be issued any punishment which may cause physical or psychological harm.
  • Juveniles must not, under any circumstances, be issued a detention order for failure to pay a mandatory fine or any other payment.
  • Juveniles must not be ordered to engage in work which is inappropriate for their age.
  • Juveniles must not be detained unless all other courses of action are exhausted.
  • Juveniles who are detained must be presented in front of a judge as soon as possible, and their cases must be processed by the courts as high-priority cases.
  • The interests of juveniles must take priority in all matters which involve them.

Juvenile Justice Bill also makes it compulsory for the state to establish specialized juvenile detention centers. It establishes that the state must open juvenile correctional centers and juvenile residential centers for juvenile delinquents who require both short-term and long-term isolation, and long term detention for rehabilitation.

The state is required to open juvenile correctional centers and juvenile residential centers within 18 months of the legislature’s enactment.

Juvenile correctional centers branch out to two types of facilities – juvenile detention centers and long-term secure facilities.

Juvenile Detention Center: These centers must be reserved to accommodate juvenile delinquents served long-term convictions for non-violent crimes.

Long-term Secure Facility: These facilities must be reserved to accommodate juvenile delinquents served long-term convictions for violent crimes.

The state is also required to open a juvenile custodial center within 18 months of the legislature’s enactment to accommodate juvenile suspects.

Lawmakers pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Juvenile Justice Bill stipulates that juveniles may not be held at any of these specialized facilities unless as a last resort. The length of their detention must also be shortest possible duration under the circumstances.

The specialized facilities must also be separate from adult correctional facilities, and must be appropriate based on age and nature of the crime committed by the juvenile delinquents.

The bill details the services and treatments which the facilities must provide.

The state is required to allocate a budget towards establishment of a juvenile justice department, regional juvenile courts, and juvenile detention centers within 60 days of the legislature’s enactment.