Shopping for a change

PHUKET CITY: A new initiative to help adolescent offenders in Phuket learn legitimate skills and steer them away from a life of crime was launched on Saturday. Youngsters doing time at the Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center (PJOPC) will now have the opportunity to learn handicrafts, batik-making and hairdressing skills and then sell their products or skills at a shop that has been opened on the premises of the PJOPC. Profits from the sale of goods and services at the shop will be used to help the rehabilitated youngsters set up their own small businesses. Speaking at the inauguration of the shop, Wanchai Roujanawong, Director General of the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, said that it was part of a plan to reduce the percentage of youngsters who reoffend from 18% to 12% within five years. Career advice and skills training are two elements of an “whole-person” approach that also encompasses behavioral training that will attempt to guide the youngsters toward being more socially responsible. Director General Wanchai said that juvenile offenders should be considered “innocent”. He explained, “They did something wrong by mistake, not with the intention of doing something wrong.” The shop is the first of its kind outside Bangkok, and will also sell handicrafts made in similar rehabilitation programs in other southern provinces. The Phuket Juvenile Protection and Observation Center is on Sakdidet Rd, opposite the Phuket Polytechnical College.

Phuket News
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