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Country Report: Cameroon From UNAFEI: Annual Report for 2007 and Resource Material Series No. 75, P 105-112, 2008, Grace Lord, ed. See NCJ-229038)

NCJ Number
Henry Asaah Ngu Ndama
Date Published
August 2008
8 pages
This paper describes the legal and institutional environment for the treatment of juvenile offenders in Cameroon, the care of juvenile offenders and their rehabilitation, current reform efforts for juvenile corrections, and recommendations for future reforms.
In Cameroon, legal and statutory instruments provide mandates for the management of juvenile offenders. They address the legal definition of a juvenile, procedures for their prosecution, and directives for their custody. These instruments are the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the presidential decrees related to the penitentiary regime. This paper describes the features of each of these instruments in detail. Regarding the care of juvenile offenders and their rehabilitation, the government has developed a 5-year plan (2007-2012) for increasing services to both female and juvenile offenders. In the case of juveniles, the plan involves partnerships with private organizations and individuals in improving custody conditions for juveniles. One example of such an effort is a private financial gift that funds beds and bedding to juveniles in all 10 central prisons in Cameroon. The government's commitment to the creation of elementary, secondary, and high schools in all prisons in the near future is also part of the 5-year plan. Other efforts to improve the care and conditions for juvenile offenders involves separating them from adult inmates in a specially guarded ward, where there is more emphasis on education and sensitivity to developmental needs than on repression and punishment. Prison conditions that have yet to be addressed are prison overcrowding and insufficient material and financial resources. Correctional reforms currently underway in juvenile corrections pertain to a new infrastructure that addresses prison overcrowding, improved training for penitentiary personnel, improvements in the facilities and training of the National School of Penitentiary Administration, and improved collaboration between the penitentiary administration and stakeholders.