In 2014, Bolivia approved a new law governing children's rights. The law promotes a positive reintegration into society for adolescents and teens in conflict with the law. However the new law has not yet changed the reality of the thousands of teens currently in jail and juvenile centers, the vast majority of whom come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds and have little, if any, assistance to help them navigate the current legal system. Instead teens are being further excluded and marginalized.
In 2014, Bolivia approved a new law governing children's rights. Adolescents in conflict with the law should be subject to restorative - rather than punitive - justice. This holds teens accountable for their actions and crimes, but with a view towards their reintegration into society as positive, contributing citizens. The new law has not yet changed the reality for the thousands of teens currently in jail and juvenile centers. Teens are being further excluded and marginalized because of it.
Save the Children is working directly with incarcerated teens in detention centers in Cochabamba and Oruro to help them acquire personal and life skills that will ease their transition into society. We are also focusing on the specific challenges of incarcerated teenage girls, who suffer discrimination, abuse and additional hardships because of their gender. We aim to continue working with advocate groups to emphasize the importance of the new law and its positive results when enacted properly.
Through sensitization and training of authorities and operators of the juvenile justice system (judges, police, social workers and others) we expect that adolescents in conflict with the law will be able to participate in social educational and restorative measures. This, together with more access to services that helps them change their behavior, will be essential to facilitate a positive insertion in society as well as push them to take responsibility for the offenses they may have committed.