Four female inmates of the New Opportunity Core (NOC) escaped from the youth correctional facility on Monday, and are currently on the run.The New Opportunity CorpsThe escapees are aged 15, 16 and 17. Two are from the Linden Squatting area, and were charged for wandering and unlawful wounding; they were sentence to serve one and two years respectively at the NOC. Another is from Third Avenue, Bartica, and was charged for wandering and sentenced to three years. The fourth, a 17-year-old of Pamela Backdam in Mahdia, was also charged for wandering and sentenced to three years.Based on information received, the four were in the compound of their dormitory when the main gate was left open. It began to rain, and the teens, left unattended, used the opportunity to dash for freedom. Checks were subsequently made, and it was discovered that the four were missing. The Police were summoned, and a search has been launched for the four teenagers. Investigations are ongoing.This is not the first time that inmates have escaped from that juvenile facility.The New Opportunity Corps houses youths between the ages of 10 and 18 after they hae been sentenced to spend time there by the courts in order that they could participate in correctional programmes lasting up to three years.Most of them housed there have been sentenced for petty offences, such as wandering, minor assault and theft. However, over 50 percent of the more than 100 inmates are at the NOC for wandering.There are separate dormitories for males and females. However, understaffing and general favouritism are being blamed for illegal relations, according to a source at the facility.Apart from condoning illegalities, the source also accused a senior official of inviting friends into the NOC compound after hours to participate in parties.Several accusations of rape have been levelled against both ministry officials and NOC staffers in the past.Since the Coalition Government came into power, responsibility for the NOC has been assigned to the Social Protection Ministry.
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