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Juveniles

Juvenile offenders

 

Our activity in the field of juvenile justice is based on international standards and good practices, comprehending policy aimed at extra-judicial measures and non-custodial sanctions for young people in conflict with the law and the protection of youth at risk.

Youth constitutes an especially vulnerable group within society given the increased possibility of major deterioration in their socioeconomic circumstances as a result of adverse events, and due to their natural proneness to being exposed to higher risks. Worldwide, an unknown number of children are deprived of their liberty, and, according to UNICEF, more than one million are incarcerated by justice systems (latest data refers to 2014).

The reaction to offences committed by juveniles usually entails two main objectives: to protect the community by holding youth accountable and to enhance youth’s ability to live in a productive responsible way. Two kinds of interventions can be used by jurisdictions for dealing with children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law: measures without resorting to judicial proceedings and measures in the context of judicial proceedings.

Law-violating behaviors perpetrated by youngsters are usually addressed by juvenile justice systems, which in some jurisdictions are either inexistent or incipient. In the latter, people caught breaking the law often get held in places of detention that are inappropriate for their age and development stage, and, as such, will most likely prevent their successful social reintegration.

Although in many countries young people are detained in specific juvenile facilities, their conditions are often poor and/or unsafe. Such juvenile correctional facilities can be enablers for fights, violence and abuse. In any case international standards provide that detention should be a measure of last resort and used only for the most serious crimes.

These are complex issues, and, in the scope of juvenile justice systems and their eventual need for reform, it is of utmost importance to emphasize prevention and rehabilitation. Hence, we strive to base our activity (be it either in the framework of transnational projects, or our consultancy practice working with clients) on international standards and good practices, namely through promoting and advising on the drafting and reviewing of legislation, especially extra-judicial measures and non-custodial sanctions for young people in conflict with the law and the protection of youth at risk.

In this regard, our services include policy development as well as integrated solutions and programmes aimed at easing the attainment of the juvenile justice institutions goals. Such services include:

  • plotting of alternatives to institutional care;
  • probation solutions;
  • restructuring and refurbishing of detention centers;
  • training courses for practitioners working in criminal justice dealing with young people in conflict with the law and juveniles at risk;
  • vocational and educational training programmes for detainees;
  • guidance, supervision, and counselling;
  • behavior change therapeutics;
  • after-care programmes for released juveniles.