Ministry of Labor and Social Development
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Last Update 10 May 2017
The social policy of juvenile delinquents care in Saudi Arabia is derived from Islamic Sharia, and what was reached in this prosperous era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques - may Allah preserve him - and what is quoted from the tolerant Islamic Sharia which represent the peak of progress in this field, as Islamic Sharia is considered the moral correction and first pillar upon which the Muslim community rely on, so it is concerned to the greatest extent with educational guidance and directing, psychological discipline, and moral correction to purify community members' souls from hatred and reasons of deviation.
Juvenile delinquency is a problem with psychological and social dimensions and related to weakness of socialization and poor social adjustment, and can't be any way addressed in isolation from its social context which contains the structure of society and systems and also its current social and economic changes.
On this basis, although the problem of juvenile delinquency in Saudi society is of small scale - thanks to Allah - it is considered a product of the changes that have accompanied the tremendous economic growth of the kingdom, resulting urban and cultural significant growth and large development in the commercial and industrial activities, and population encroachment from the desert and the countryside to urban growth centers, that led to weakness of family control and increase the juvenile leisure time, that may lead some of them to spend it in a deviant behavior.
The principles of juvenile delinquents care in Saudi Arabia were and still based on a number of concepts and theories derived from Islamic Sharia, including seeing the juvenile as a patient should be cured not a criminal should be punished, and then changing the juvenile bad behavior into good manners through discipline, education, and guidance.
So the care of juvenile delinquents or potential delinquents was one of care priorities in kingdom, as the institutional care of them began in 1374 AH where the first institution for the care and reform of juvenile delinquents or potential delinquents was established in Riyadh to be the initial social defense line against the young and juvenile delinquency, then objectives were defined as (care of juvenile delinquents who commits punishable crimes by Islamic Sharia, as well as juvenile who refuses their parents authority, and who are exposed to disorder among their family or school).
In 1378 AH these houses were joined to the general presidency for orphanages. By the establishment of the ministry of labor and social affairs in 1380 AH, the responsibility of these houses were assigned to the department of social affairs in the ministry. The ministry of labor and social affairs, the ministry of interior and the judiciary association joined efforts, these efforts provided young and juveniles care programs with judicial, educational, guiding, and corrective care.
Through the development movement carried out by the ministry of labor and social affairs in 1382 AH, the name of juvenile delinquents and potential delinquents care houses of both sexes was changed into (Social observation houses, houses for social guidance as well institutions for girls caring). Juvenile care department was established to oversee these houses and work for achieving basis of guidance and reform and social rehabilitation for the juvenile delinquents (as a curative aspect) and potential delinquents of both sexes (preventive aspect) in accordance with the tolerant teachings of Islamic sharia and modern scientific methods. In light of this, the targets of juvenile delinquents care are to reform and correct their behavior as they lost their way or about to lose it, and need who take their hands, and overcome the difficulties and obstacles they face and guide them to the right path.
First, Preventive programs for the care of potential juvenile delinquents
Preventive programs for the care of potential juvenile delinquent adopt an approach that different in meaning and targets from treatment programs directed to juvenile delinquents, such programs are presented through houses for social guidance that take care of potential juvenile delinquents.
1- Houses for Social Guidance:
Houses for Social Guidance are concerned with achieving basis of good education, correction, reform and rehabilitation of different categories of potential juvenile delinquents aged between seven and eighteen years, who refuses their parents authority, or homeless due to their bad situations, or at risk of deviation because of family disorders. Such houses depends in their plans on facing deviations by taking preventive measures through early detection of juvenile delinquents who show signs of deviation in accordance with right scientific and educational standards. The preventive measures adopted by the ministry of labor and social affairs do an important role in facing juvenile delinquency working with the method of prevention is better than cure.The preventive programs are concerned with cases of potential juvenile delinquents because of bad family or environmental conditions they have suffered and reflected their effects on them, where the juveniles are isolated from the active factors that may be a major cause of their deviation, these programs provide appropriate care and environment for juveniles who are at risk of delinquency in order to ensure their rehabilitation to be good citizens.
To get the services of these houses, the potential delinquent guardian should apply for a joining request, then the house complete the regulative procedures and documents required for acceptance, which include a comprehensive social, psychological and medical study upon which the juvenile is accepted or not, or presenting alternative solutions so that joining the house be the last proposed solutions.
For joining to these houses, the juvenile must to be one the following categories:
• Juveniles who refuses their parents or guardian authority.
• Homeless juveniles.
• Juveniles who are at risk of deviation because of family disorder.
• Age should be not less than seven years and not more than eighteen years.
• The social research should prove that the Juvenile needs care within the house.
• The medical examination should prove that the Juvenile is free of diseases that impede him to get benefit from the house services.
Second: Treatment programs for the care of juvenile delinquents
These programs are offered for both sexes - who were victims of social and psychological circumstances that forced them to delinquency to pitfalls - through social observation houses and institutions for girls caring.
1-Social Observation Houses
Houses concerned with achieving basis of care and moral and religious guidance, as well as health and education proper care for the juvenile delinquents who are in detention under investigation or trial, or whom the judge decided to be kept in the house in the age range between twelve and eighteen years, and were arrested by the security authorities because of committing wrongdoings that require discipline and restore the rights of their respective owners, the duration of detention in the observation houses is determined by a decision from the judge as required in the treatment plan, in order to eliminate the negative effects resulting from placing juvenile delinquents with elder prisoners or with previous criminal records, that lead the state - endorsed by Allah – to establish special houses for juvenile delinquents in order to provide treatment and preventive care for them, where the first house of social observation was established in Riyadh on 10/24/1392 AH, and successively other social observation houses were opened.
To achieve the desired goal of these houses, all the procedures of investigation and trial are conducted inside the observation house, and in suitable social and psychological conditions out of the firm belief that the juvenile discipline and punishment don't mean revenge, but as some scholars (Fuqaha) say that it is discipline reform and restrain varies according to the guilt required by the public and private interest, which is getting corruption away from the people, and achievement of safety and conservation to them, and it is legislated as mercy of Allah towards his own, as it is issued by the mercy of creation and the will of charity to them, so should those who punishes people on their sins intend to show mercy to them, as the parent intended to discipline his son, and as the doctor intended to treat patient.
Social observation houses seek to conduct a study about the causes of juvenile delinquents problems and find appropriate solutions, also depend in their plans on the treatment side for juvenile delinquents, where the observation houses arrange different programs and activities of its detainees to meet their needs, correct some of misconceptions, modify their behavior for the better and help them to achieve the proper adjustment. Social observation houses are considered social homes for juvenile delinquents to observe them, understand their problems, study their difficulties with fitting with society, and diagnose their behavioral and deviant illness to provide them with help, support and care to pave the way for their reformation, and enable them to get rid of their flaws deviations and return to society with psychosocial fit to contribute to the building and developing of their homeland and be useful to themselves, their families and their society.
Programs and activities of the social observation houses:
Activities and programs carried out by the social observation houses are not so different from programs presented in the houses for social guidance, but the difference between them is to harness those activities in what serving the plans of each house, and what is focused on either preventive or curative or all of them, where activities include the following programs:
• Cultural and guiding activity.
• Social activity.
• Technical and Vocational activity.
• Sports activity.
2- Institutions for Girls Caring
Institutions for girls caring are concerned with achieving basis of good care, social correction, and strengthening the religious faith of Saudi girls who have suffered from bad social and psychological circumstances that force them to stumble and deviate from the straight path, and work to achieve health, education and training proper care for the Saudi delinquent girls, who are in detention under investigation or trial, or whom the judge decided be kept in the institution if they are under the age of thirty.
Joined to these institutions Saudi girls who are detained by the security authorities, because of committing wrongdoings or found in unacceptable conditions, all the procedures of investigation and trial are conducted inside the institution, and in suitable social and psychological conditions out of the firm belief that the juvenile girl discipline and punishment don't mean revenge, but as some scholars (Fuqaha) say that it is discipline, reform and restrain varies according to the guilt required by the public and private interest, which is getting corruption away from the people, and achievement of safety and conservation to them, and it is legislated as mercy of Allah towards His own, , as it is issued by the mercy of creation and the will of charity to them, so should those who punishes people on their sins intend to show mercy to them, as the parent intended to discipline his son, and as the doctor intended to treat patient.
These institutions depend in their plans on treatment programs, and arrange for their enrolled females number of purposeful programs and directed activities appropriate to their privacy, in order to meet their needs and modify their behavior for the better, and achieve the proper adjustment and ability to blend in the society. Such programs come as an initial social defense line to protect some girls and women who have deviate from the way and faced pitfalls and obstacles that hampered their fit in with the community and their righteousness, and led to their delinquency and deviation. Institutions for girls caring are considered social and safe home for delinquent girls to observe them, study their cases, understand their problems that lead to deviation closely, treat those causes by reforming them with good education, rehabilitation and training on what will benefit them in the future, and return them to the right path. If the girl becomes good the family will be good, and accordingly the society.
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