A Former Juvenile's Story
Allen* is only 17 years old but has already spent time in prison. He came from a single-parent family - his father left the family when he was younger - and his growing up years were rough. His mother remarried, but the family situation did not improve because his stepfather was abusive towards him. Allen eventually ran away from home and came to Kuala Lumpur. Someone introduced him to a network of VCD sellers which he joined in order to support himself. He enjoyed being able to live his own life away from home and an abusive stepfather.
All that changed in just one night. As he was selling VCDs in Cheras, the police raided the area he was in. Allen was caught and remanded in Kajang prison.

Allen waited for the day of his trial, which turned out to be a long-drawn six-month wait. The police had not yet completed their investigation, thus delaying Allen’s hearing in court.
In May 2005, Shelter began conducting classes among the juvenile boys in Kajang Prison to help them keep up with their studies and to give the boys opportunities to live “normal” lives although they were confined within the prison walls.

Allen attended those classes and got to know the Shelter staff who taught him. On the day of Allen’s hearing, the magistrate had a copy of Shelter’s letter attesting that he had been attending classes regularly, and that he had
shown good behaviour while in remand. Allen was finally released.

Allen is grateful for the help that Shelter gave to him while he was in prison as well as after his release. He is nowliving and working in the Klang Valley and still keeps in touch with Shelter.