Presentation on theme: "Juveniles in conflict with the law should be treated with dignity, in full respect of the victims, and the best interest of the community A case for creation."— Presentation transcript:
Juveniles in conflict with the law should be treated with dignity, in full respect of the victims, and the best interest of the community A case for creation of a new norm Detention for juveniles must be remain as a measure of last resort and for shortest possible time… Leon Shestani, UNICEF Albania University of Pennsylvania 13 July 2012
Context Juvenile justice system administration Comes from very punitive tradition – Judges and prosecutors: politically motivated … – Lawyers? Out of the system from 1967-1990 – Alternative to detention for juveniles? Corrections schools = to prison Attitude of professionals – Evaluated and promoted based on strictness – To send “criminals” to jail Community perception – Used to the fact/expectation that accused = jail
What are the key issues? Goal: Use detention as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time I.Use of alternatives measure to detention, ideally diversion or referral to probation and social services; II.Shorten the time for juveniles awaiting trial
Most of this boy’s teenage years have been spent in an Albanian jail. He doesn’t deny his crime or argue with his sentence, but his time in Tirana’s Vaqarr prison is a clear example of why incarceration should be a last resort measure for children in conflict with the law. Most of this boy’s teenage years have been spent in an Albanian jail. He doesn’t deny his crime or argue with his sentence, but his time in prison is a clear example of why incarceration should be a last resort measure for children in conflict with the law
Ongoing approach I. Introduction of alternatives to detention – Legislative review (alternatives to detention available in the law) – Training of professionals (on use of alternatives to detention – Communication campaign (COMBI) targeting judges and prosecutors to change behaviour – Pilot project for implementation of community service orders – Support to probation – knowledge and capacity building
Court of Tirana Afrim (15) accused of bicycle theft is referred to community service order (120 hours). In the past he would have spent up to two year in prison.
At present almost 40% of juvenile in conflict with the law are referred/diverted to CSOs and VOM. In 2007, implementation of CSO started as UNICEF pilot project in Tirana…
2011 UNICEF Annual Report “With UNICEF assistance, Albania in 2011 introduced schemes to keep children out of these systems and provide alternatives to detention, such as victim-offender mediation and community service. Legislation has been adopted to begin offering free legal and psychosocial assistance to juveniles, though the organizations providing these services depend on aid from donors.”
Our approach (continued) II. Long time awaiting trial – Legislative review – Training of professionals – Advocacy Situation? (almost) unchanged Average time in detention for juvenile crime is 8 -15 months; 70% of juveniles complete their court sentence awaiting trial Our next challenge: i) use of detention as last resort and ii) faster judicial proceedings
What we are looking? …for judges and prosecutor to practice alternatives sentences to detention or diversion for juveniles and shorten the time of the juveniles awaiting trial, the social norms of the public and wider community probably need to change… so that the wider community understands that alternative sentences to detention are better for rehabilitation of young people who made a mistake. The juvenile are still in their formative years and detention will put a lid on future positive developments… …and, the community has to expect that it is in their interest that juveniles are given alternatives to detention, so they can fully reintegrate – and this is the social norm that we are trying to promote and achieve…
Pre trial detention conditions are basic. Eight boys live in a small cell, which does not met the international minimum standards for space or hygiene. Activities and education programmes are not available and prison staff are not trained in how to deal with children.
What can be done differently? Diagnosis – looking in particular to the relationship between legal/moral/social norm – Are the legal norms far from current situation of social norm? – How much the glasses of judges/prosecutors are colored by the perception of the community… – What happens with juveniles committing crime imprisoned and those treated in alternative services? What is the rate of recidivism?
The way ahead… Regulatory mechanisms: Sub legal acts, such as to move in a direction of disciplining the investigation process Incentives: Link performance and evaluation of judges (through high council of justice) to criteria that promote judges for use of alternatives to detention and shorter investigation time for prosecutors Knowledge (common): use comparative studies – what happen in other countries in EU area and larger – to share experiences for knowledge creation and positive pressure Training of professionals: such as the continuous training with magistrate school on expedited trial for juveniles and use of detention as measure of last resort
The way ahead… Entry points: such as establishment of a law society (type) of group possibly; use it as a working group – core for mobilizing peers on the issue; Review role of magistrate school for the sustained impact – capacity building and part of the relevant network; Promote the responses on crime that focus on prevention – demonstrating to the community the effectiveness; Through the law society – promote role model for judges and prosecutors who champion on use of detention as measure of last resort – establish a prize at national level… Awareness: work the media, like through talk shows, documentaries, media campaigns, and other creative ways to initiate public dialogue...
Some children are referred by the court to vocational training courses complimentary to the community service order. Here at Don Bosco school, young offender join other young people in learning plumbing, electronics, and English: skills that will help them find decent jobs and stay out of trouble.
In other cases, complains against children are be dealt with outside the courts. Shkelzen was arrested for violently assaulting his friend after an argument over a billiards game. After the intervention of the UNICEF-supported victim-offender mediation service, Shkelzen apologized and his friend dropped the case.
The way ahead… Better document and disseminate what is the rate of recidivism – at present we have empirical data that shows that in case is used jail is 40% versus other measures at 3,8% Initiate public forums, including through law society, academia and community representatives, to create common knowledge-(goal to move versus new normative expectation): that there is greater security in the community if alternatives to detention as used as a preventive measures; Juvenile imprisonment is used only for serious crimes and if they provide a serious risk for the community safety – instead, use of alternatives sentences and reintegration programmes is in the benefit of the community ( goal – create a new empirical expectation) and thus create condition to move towards a new norm…