Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has expressed concern about a report in today's Gleaner that children who are deemed uncontrollable are being locked away in prison without a hearing or legal representation.
Under section 24 of the Child Care and Protection Act, a judge can deem a child uncontrollable and place s/he in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services.
In an interview with RJR News this afternoon, Gordon Harrison said the presiding judge usually informs the Office of the Children's Advocate that a child has no legal representation and the matter is put off.
However, she says there appears to be a gap.
“Pursuant to section four of the Child Care protection act, we asked for the matter to be stood down, so the office of the Childrens’ Advocate can intervene. So this is something that we will perhaps initially seek dialogue on ....”
Gordon Harrison argues that there needs to be psychological assessment of children whose behaviour is considered by their parents to be uncontrollable.
She also expressed disappointment that the correctional order remains legally enforceable despite promises by legislators to make the practice illegal.