Every province of Afghanistan is required by law to have a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre (JRC) in its
capital city to house and rehabilitate children in conflict with the law sentenced to detention. An alternative to full detention is the Open JRC, where children spend daytime in rehabilitation and evenings and weekends at home. The Open JRC in Kabul nevertheless remains a detention facility.
This research offers a pragmatic view of the lived experiences of children in the Kabul Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre (JRC) and situates detention within their life events, where neglected needs and incurred stresses impact their later adult lives and life opportunities. While strides have been made to improve this situation, the Kabul JRC is still short on consistent and quality rehabilitation programmes and reintegration support in line with national and international standards. Existing initiatives generally lack specifically trained staff, resources, management, and facilities.
This study employed child-sensitive qualitative and quantitative methods, surveying the majority of boys detained in Open and Closed Centres of the JRC (112) and triangulating and adding depth to findings with focus group discussions (2), case studies (4), and key informant interviews (15). The results underlined the diversity of backgrounds, ages and crimes amongst the boys. Furthermore, the results highlighted the many similarities shared between children inside and outside the JRC – calling for integrated approaches for existing and planned services.