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Irresponsible Parents – Prospective Prisoners

The RF Duma is now working on sensational legislation concerning parents, their children and school directors.

According to the new legislation, the police will be authorized to detain teenagers walking at night alone. School directors will account for delinquency committed by pupils by day: they will have to pay a fine in case pupils are drunk or doped. However, these cannot be the reasons to expel pupils from schools because it is possible only upon approval of the parents’ committee of the school and the regional commission for juvenile affairs. The legislation will also let send parents to prison if their children are badly brought up.

Duma deputies say the present-day problem with homeless and neglected children makes them toughen the legislation. Chairwoman of the Duma committee for the affairs of women, family and youth Yekaterina Lakhova says the number of homeless children in Russia is from 100 thousand to 4 million according to various estimates. The exact number of such children cannot be fixed as the notion of “homelessness” is rather vague and there is no particular system for counting homeless children. Official statistics state that 16 thousand children of school age never attend lessons and 50 thousand children run away from home every year. Majority of drug addicts are under age. Schools traditionally prefer to get rid of problematic pupils: the law “On education” gives schools the right to get rid of problematic pupils above 14 years of age in case the latter break the school charter. The commission for juvenile affairs is helpless to reduce juvenile delinquency; almost all registered young criminals still commit crimes.  

The Duma is developing amendments to several laws that are to be adopted next spring. The amendment to the law “On prevention of homelessness and juvenile delinquency” gives the police the right to detain teenagers walking at night alone and take them to detention centers. Today, the police are authorized to detain teenagers only when they violate the law. Amendments to the law “On education” will introduce a new order for expulsion from school. Parents’ committee of the school and the Commission for juvenile affairs will have to consider every particular case. Directors of schools and sport complexes will be imposed a fine upon if teenagers drink alcohol or dope on the territories within their jurisdiction. Parents who do not bring up their children properly may be sent to prison. However, the new amendments do not stipulate how long this imprisonment may be. According to the legislation in force, such parents are to pay a fine at the rate of 100-500 rubles. The measure was applied to about 2 thousand people last year. The number of unhappy families in Russia amounts to 280 thousand.

Head of the juvenile department in the Phoenix Center of New Sociology Alexander Tarasov says the right to detain teenagers walking at night alone will restrict teenagers’ rights and will mean the end of presumption of innocence for them. “Following this logic, every man may be detained on suspicion of rape as he has “the instrument” of rape,” Alexander Tarasov says. Imprisonment is also a poor measure to apply to bad parents. When parents are sent to prison their children will still remain neglected and become criminals. Alexander Tarasov thinks imposing of a fine upon school directors for drunk or doped pupils is just an ostentatious measure. He supposes that school directors go shares with those who push drugs at schools and no fines may be effective in this case.

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