In June 2018, Guyana enacted the Juvenile Justice Act 2018 to prohibit all corporal punishment of children in penal institutions and as a sentence for a crime.
Article 92 of the Act states:
(1) Any juvenile who breaches the rules of a facility may be disciplined on the instruction of the Principal of the facility in a way that is both reasonable and within the prescribed limits …
(3) The following forms of discipline are prohibited – (a) corporal punishment or any other form of physical violence; (b) deprivation of food or drink; (c) treatment that is cruel, inhuman or degrading; (d) treatment that could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to the physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing of the juvenile; or (e) deprivation of access to educational instruction.”
However, article 61, which regulates juveniles’ transfer to adult facilities, should provide better clarity as to whether this transfer can be completed before juveniles turn 18. Article 37 of the Prison Act 1957 – which allows flogging as a disciplinary measure – applies in adult facilities.
Corporal punishment is also unlawful as a sentence for a crime as article 15 of the Act states that juveniles “shall be dealt with as provided for in this Act”. Part VI of the Act on sentencing makes no provision for judicial corporal punishment.
The Global Initiative welcomes this progress which takes Guyana off the list of the now 33 states where judicial corporal punishment is still lawful for child offenders. Children in Guyana can however still be lawfully subjected to corporal punishment in the home, in alternative care and day care settings, and in schools – the Government must now enact a full prohibition of all corporal punishment, including in the home.
For more information, see our country report on Guyana