International Juvenile Justice Conference “Making Deprivation of Children’s Liberty a Last Resort: Towards evidence-based policies on alternatives”

I am delighted to accept the invitation to serve as a Member of the Committee of Honour at the 6th International Juvenile Justice Conference “Making Deprivation of Children’s Liberty a Last Resort: Towards evidence-based policies on alternatives” to be held in Brussels in December 2014.

I look forward to offering any assistance I can in the promotion of and the protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law. I also hope to help in the development of effective policies set on breaking cycles of violence and offering alternatives to juvenile detention, mediation and conflict resolution.

These issues are hugely important in Latin America which contains 50% of the global prison population. Depriving juveniles, as well as adults, their liberty has vast consequences to not only those individuals but society as a whole as overcrowded, violent and dysfunctional prison systems often fall short of their goals of reintegration and the safe keeping of those put there by law.

With prison systems that are extremely overcrowded, designing new public policy and legislation focused on the best interests of individuals in conflict with the law and their impact on society is of the utmost importance, whether for minors or adults.  Incarceration and the deprivation of individual’s liberties should be viewed as a last resort in regards to children as well as those facing non-violent charges, with respect to their own individual needs and violent risk factors.

I am therefore extremely pleased to have been offered the opportunity to participate in the IJJO’s conference focused on determining effective evidence-based alternatives to the current detention policies present in Latin America and the world.

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