Promoting the application of socio-educational measures for adolescents in conflict with the law in Uruguay

EUROsociAL+ and the Uruguayan National Institute for Adolescent Social Inclusion are generating a constructive discussion on the desirability of non-custodial versus custodial measures for adolescents

EUROsociAL+ is accompanying the Uruguayan National Institute for Adolescent Social Inclusion (INISA) in implementing a new approach that establishes a broader regime for the non-custodial measures for adolescents in conflict with the law. It has been considered important that the main players involved jointly build an effective awareness-raising strategy in order to contribute to a constructive debate throughout society that promotes the application of these non-custodial measures.

In implementing the new Approach to Non-Custodial Measures, which were approved in Uruguay in December 2017, INISA and its staff have already worked with different players to ensure they understand and apply the new model. INISA has also been working with the operators of the justice system so that they apply the inter-institutional protocols, and with public opinion to raise awareness among Uruguayan citizens as to the need to promote the application of non-custodial rather than custodial measures.

The EUROsociAL+ European Union Programme is, therefore, accompanying INISA in designing an awareness-raising strategy on non-custodial measures for adolescents in conflict with the law with the help of Laura Cárdenas, an expert in communication and advocacy.

A strategy was designed through interviews, focus groups and workshops to strengthen subjective aspects in the different audiences (general public, media, companies, state institutions, organised civil society) and to raise awareness regarding the benefits and effectiveness of Non-Custodial Measures.

The INISA management team, educators, psychologists, Unicef, NGOs, representatives from the Prosecutor's Office, the judiciary, the media and representatives of citizens and adolescents in conflict with the law criminal were able to reflect together on how to dispel some of the myths about adolescents in conflict with the criminal law and the benefits of these socio-educational measures.

In the opinion of INISA president, Gabriela Fulcó, "this technical assistance has marked a turning point in the institution and now we have the necessary tools to focus our work on communication to help us generate more opportunities for development and a new future for adolescents in conflict with the criminal law, undoubtedly one of the most vulnerable groups in our society."

This initiative is part of the activities carried out by the EUROsociAL+ Programme to support INISA in implementing the new Inter-institutional Approach for the application of Non-Custodial Measures to adolescent offenders in Uruguay, which is carried out jointly between the Programme's Democratic Governance and Social Policies areas.

Área de políticas de gobernanza democrática, FIIAPP. Democratic governance area, FIIAPP / Programa EUROsociAL+.