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IDB blog makes recommendations on how Belize can improve juvenile justice

Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017. 8:47 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Sin Medios, a blog operated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has commended Belize’s approach to dealing with juvenile crime and made recommendations on how those efforts could be improved.

Following the release of a GAP analysis published by the IDB on the “Community Action for Public Security (CAPS),” financed by the IDB, which measures desired outcomes against actual outcomes, the blog pointed out that Belize could benefit from law reforms, which would remove the ability for minors to be sentenced to life without parole. The blog pointed specifically to the charge of “uncontrollable behavior” which are offenses that do not involve criminal acts, noting that in 2015, 44 percent of minors in the system stood accused of such crimes.

Sin Medios contended that removing that clause in the law would reduce admissions to the system. It also said that granting universal access to legal aid would reduce pretrial detention and severe penalties for minors.

The blog praised the efforts of the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), which reaches out to minors involved in gangs and has established the confidence of gang members and police. It also spoke to the successes of the various initiatives brought about through the CAPS including the Positive Youth Development Program in schools, the Gateway Center for out-of-school youth or after school, and psycho-social support for youth in conflict with the law.

“Belize’s significant investments in preventing violence and reintegrating youth in conflict with the law, through CAPS and other programs, are showing positive results,” the blog said.

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