The report,”Moving Agreements on from Paper,” drafted by more than 40 NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) that work for young people, highlights the reality of young people who are in jail in Brazil and demonstrates the inefficiency of government policies to combat juvenile delinquency.
The document provides data from the Brazilian National Penitentiary Department, which shows the social inequality among this segment of the population. Around 30% of the country’s prison population is in the 18-24 age bracket, and 40% of them didn’t have jobs before they were put in jail, and 51% were out of school.
For Renata Florentino, representative of the Integrar Group, one of the organizations that prepared the report, the State has to pay more attention to this question. She says that there are two fragile items when it comes to putting kids in jail: the guaranty of the rights of those who are incarcerated and cut off from outside contacts.
“The quality of the policies that guarantee the rights of the prison population is bunk, that’s when it’s respected. Access to education in prison is nearly non-existent. And the relationship with the outside world is practically non-existent.
“When you get someone out, to try to make things better, so that he can become a good member of society, you can’t imagine that the dude will prepare himself to become a total member of society.”
Florentino also points to the need to revise the Statute of Children and Adolescents, when it comes to punishing young violators of the law.
“The Statute has never been applied firmly. The condition of the Febem and the Cajes (institutions for delinquent kids) need to be cared for better to improve things,” he suggests.
In the report, the non-governmental organizations accuse the institutions that care for delinquent kids of practicing torture. They cite the case of São Paulo, where 1,750 employees of the São Paulo Febem were fired after corrupt practices were discovered in the institution.
The report says that less than 10% of the crimes committed in the country are committed by adolescents. “That is, the universe of youngsters who commit crimes is small, and, among their numbers, those who practice crimes against life or terrible crimes are small in number,” according to the report on Juvenile Delinquency.
One of the items considered delicate in the document is the defense by some groups of lowering the penal age from 18 to 16. The report reproduces a study last year by the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), showing that 89% of the population is in favor of reducing the age. 1,700 people in 16 capitals of the country were interviewed, from the social classes A, B, C, and D.
The “Moving Agreement from Paper” report was sent to the United Nations in April, and to the Brazilian government on Friday, August 12, International Youth Day.
On October 4, the UN will release an international report on the situation of young people around the world. The document is being drafted on the basis of the reports sent by governments and non-governmental organizations from around the world.