Nineteen-year-old Francisco (a fictitious name to protect his identity) spent 15 days in prison for robbery. “There are many of us young people who have grown up at a difficult moment and want things quickly, which sometimes forces us to do things that aren’t correct,” explains this father of two children from the city of Bluefields. “I never thought I was going to go through this.”
For Francisco, those two weeks in jail were enough to make him value his freedom. He is now completing his sentence outside of prison but confined to the city of Bluefields and each Monday he has to go to the court to sign his name.
Francisco is one of 35 young people, including adolescents, that participated in a workshop on masculinity and violence prevention given by the Juvenile Penal System’s Technical Follow-Up Office (OTSSPA) and the Bluefields Juvenile Penal Court in coordination with the National Police’s Juvenile Affairs Directorate.
UNICEF is supporting this initiative as part of the End Violence programme through the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Police’s Juvenile Affairs Directorate. This programme has developed support instruments for the multidisciplinary groups of the country’s juvenile penal courts and the OTSSPA to help them reinsert adolescents with behavioural problems, allowing them to reincorporate themselves into society.
Francisco is grateful for all of the support from the multidisciplinary team (psychologists and sociologists) of OTSSPA and the Bluefields Juvenile Penal Court. “My self-esteem is very high and I know that although I committed that crime, I’m capable of achieving the goals I have now,” he says. “Before, I didn’t even think about them.”
“Those 15 days in jail made me value many things, from the comfort of being able to sleep in a bed to my children and the love of my family. I had to sleep in a hammock in a room that was 3 metres squared, which they call the dog’s jail,” he recalls. “There were 20 of us there in hammocks hung one above the other. I never imagined I was going to be involved in a crime.”
Francisco has started studying again and is currently in the fifth year of secondary school. His dream is to study graphic design and give his children everything they need to be good men when they grow up.