Saudi society is threatened by an increase in juvenile delinquency

Saudi society is threatened by an increase in juvenile delinquency

Saeed Al-Suraihi

Saeed Al-Suraihi
Okaz

The number of juvenile delinquents in Saudi Arabia has jumped to 22,810 in the past two years. This means one thing: our entire society needs to be rehabilitated and by the word “entire”, I mean all family members and those who work in civil institutions.

The delinquents are not the only ones who need correction and rehabilitation in order for them to be able to benefit society and the wider community. In fact, I can say that our society is in dire need of behavior correction so that it can create good citizens who know right from wrong. The current number of juvenile delinquents, who are distributed among 17 juvenile delinquency centers around the Kingdom, is too large.

Our society has seen much terrorist activity over the past few years, a fact that has made parents protective of their sons and daughters in fear that they might end up joining a terrorist organization. Civil institutions have done the same and have started launching programs to raise parents’ awareness about terrorist groups that try to recruit young men and women. Other forms of deviant behavior should be treated the same, including juvenile delinquency.

These centers are nothing more than special prisons for young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who commit major crimes that are punishable by law. These youngsters would have been put in prison had they been over 18. Only the judge decides how long they will stay in these centers. Of course, this largely depends on the crime they have committed.

Another shocking fact is that out of 22,810 delinquents there are 35 who have committed murders. The other cases are varied and include assault, use of knives, vandalism, theft, drug use and engaging in immoral behavior. Yet, another heart-wrenching fact is that 1,951 of these young people are aged between 12 and 15.

These figures clearly show that terrorism is not the only danger affecting our sons and daughters; there are other dangers which civil institutions and families should be aware of. We do not want to find out when it is too late that we have eradicated terrorism from our society but have failed to reduce crimes committed by delinquents.