By Gloria James-Civetta

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New State Courts Program for Below-21 Youthful Offenders

2 min read

Do you know someone who is below 21 years old and has just been charged in the State Courts?

The State Courts has just introduced an Early Engagement for Youth Under 21 (EE21) program, targeted at engaging youths between their first mention in Court and the day they are sentenced.

Rehabilitation is the primary sentencing consideration for offenders below 21 years old, and the EE21 program is a practical step to set these offenders on the right track early on before sentence is passed.

After the first mention, adjournments (postponement till a later date) are usually required whether for further investigations, application for legal aid or to send in letters of representations to the Prosecution, the duration from first mention to sentence can be 6 or even 9 months. After an offender has been charged, it is natural to be demoralized and disengaged. Youthful offenders are especially at risk, as they may also be early school drop-outs with no constructive avenues to expand energy during schooling hours.

Benefits of Early Engagement
Examples of activities Benefits
a) Sports and other recreational social activities Engage in constructive activities Interact with friends who provide positive influence
b) Temporary housing assistance, eg. youth residential homes Minimize youths spending time outside unconducive home environments with poor company and temptation to crime
c) Financial support Help to apply for social assistance and limit the committing of crimes because of economic drivers
d) Continuing education support Help with attaining basic educational qualifications to improve employment prospects
Vocational and other short skills training courses Help with attaining basic educational qualifications to improve employment prospects

Eligibility

You can join the program if you:

  1. Are below 21 years of age
  2. Agree to be contacted by the relevant agencies, as well as keep to the terms and conditions imposed by them
  3. Agree to meet up with the Court Counsellor regularly
  4. Are willing to participate voluntarily in this program.

Contact point

If you know someone who might benefit from early engagement, please contact the State Courts Centre for Specialist Services (CSS): 64355942 (telephone) or statecourts_centre_for_specialist_services@statecourts.gov.sg The CSS will holistically assess the needs of the individual (and even their next-of-kin where appropriate), make the necessary referrals to relevant partner organizations (eg. MSF, MOE, Sports Singapore) and oversee their progress until the end of the case.

What can we do for you?

Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our criminal representation lawyers at 6337 0469 or email us at consult@gjclaw.com.sg

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