A Chance to Start Again
We are pleased to present this year’s third report of the project “A chance to start again”. The project aims at improving the access to justice at national level for adolescents between 14 to 18 years old and in conflict with the law, trying to bring an answer to the following problems and challenges the country faces in the Juvenile Justice System: the grave delays in the justice system, deprivation of liberty as a common measure to penalize youth, the lack of effective restorative justice mechanisms and the lack of specialized centers for the social reintegration as well as the social-educative orientation of adolescents in conflict with the law.
During the past months, direct interventions in the Center for Social Reintegration Cometa have allowed 102 adolescents to participate in daily sessions to receive educational and psychological support and a total of 90 adolescents to access weekly workshops to strengthen their social skills. Role plays, music and discussion forums help adolescents to reflect about their lives and improve their social behavior.
The project was also able to finalize the design and validation process of the Social Skills Guide for the Social Reintegration Process of Adolescents in Conflict with the Law, which has been developed specifically for adolescents in conflict with the law, and the Informative Guide about Juvenile Justice with a Restorative Approach, which is one of the most innovative products of the project. It is a pedagogic tool to inform the adolescents and their families about the legal framework, characteristics and integral entities of the criminal justice system for adolescents.
We have implemented Parenting School sessions, offering training workshops in “Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting”, a methodology developed by SCI Sweden and the University of Manitoba (Canada) to promote non-violent upbringing. In the monthly sessions with an average of 30 participants, the parents also received training on non-violent communication strategies to improve their relationships with their children, as well as on legal defense techniques for adolescents in conflict with the law. To provide additional legal support free of charge to these families, an agreement was established with the legal office of the Law Department of the Universidad Mayor de San (UMSS) to provide consultative legal services for families with limited resources.
A highlight during this reporting period has been the establishment of an Interinstitutional work agreement between the Ministry of Justice, the National Judges School and Save the Children International which will contribute greatly to the sustainability of the project and strengthens the rights-based approach of the project’s intervention.
“This agreement with Save the Children International is a strategic alliance to be able to train administrators of the justice system Save the Children International has the necessary experience in this area and lives the reality of these adolescents. We are very happy about this agreement.”
– Gery, Head of the Training Unit of the National Judges School.