Detention of minors: “Every child deserves a second chance”, the campaign has started

Professor Bouzlafa’s work based on research that lasted almost a year was made possible by the program “Improving the Conditions of Detention of Moroccan Youth”, funded by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State (DRL) and implemented in partnership with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation and the Ministry of Justice. And it is through the National State for State Courts (NCSC) that the advocacy campaign “For a more efficient juvenile criminal justice”, adopting as a slogan: “Every child deserves a second chance”, has just been launched on February 24th.

Among the recommendations that emerged from the research work of Professor Bouzlafa, three objectives have helped to define the scope of actions of the campaign launched and which advocates for better legal protection of minors. Its reinforcement is the first objective.
 To achieve this, the author recommends a certain number of legal procedures and rules for the protection of human rights in the different phases of legal proceedings. He will recall, at this stage also, the necessity of the approval of the Public Prosecutor’s Office before the detention of the minor. The investigation of the general rules guaranteeing the respect of his privacy, his protection against stigmatization will have to be founded. This is what the memorandum will detail throughout some of the recommendations.
It also retains the speed and minimization of the delays of the procedure as well as the access to the changes of the judicial measures and the implementation of the alternatives to the deprivation of liberty in the required management mode.

The second objective that should be achieved as a result of the implementation of the memorandum is the creation of an appropriate infrastructure to support the protection and rehabilitation of children, by developing the institutional performance of detention centers in terms of services, programs and rights.
 This initiative shall provide an appropriate environment equipped to meet the basic needs and requirements of minors ensuring their better rehabilitation and reintegration. In the same sense, this would create a new generation of detention centers, which will support the existing child protection centers and rehabilitate their structure, in order to cover the needs of large cities hit by an exponential growth of juvenile delinquency.

Finally, this set of recommendations should contribute to the development of government programs in the area of juvenile justice. This will be the third objective of the campaign. It will be achieved not only by injecting qualified material and human resources to protect children from deviance but also by promoting governance.
The challenge is clear: to raise the level of performance of convergent and inclusive public policies for children at the national, regional and local levels.
 This is commendable in many ways. The legislator has initiated a series of reforms over the past two decades.

Improvements in this area will have a positive impact on the Human Development Index (HDI). Morocco would gain in image and international authorities would see it as another effort in the field of democracy.

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