Lack of resources is crippling juvenile justice
Nearly 6,000 rulings against delinquents have not been applied due to lack of human and technical resources, says oversight body.19 May 2008
MADRID - An investigation into the effectiveness of Spain's court system by the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the highest legal oversight body, shows that nearly 6,000 court rulings against juvenile delinquents have yet to be applied because of a woeful lack of human and technical resources.
Faced with increasing demand for tougher legislation against young offenders, the CGPJ argues that the existing Juvenile Act of 2001 is not being properly implemented.
The report points out that more than 2,000 rulings awaiting application were handed down in 2004 or earlier, meaning that urgent measures aimed at preventing young offenders from turning into hardened criminals are not being implemented. This, said the report, violates the spirit of the law, which is to resocialise juvenile delinquents before it is too late.
"The impossibility of implementing a measure at the right time means that the educational and remobilisation goals of juvenile legislation cannot be reached," said the report, which talks about "a breakdown of the system."
According to the CGPJ, there are not enough trained educators to work with juveniles; specialised centres for youngsters with drug abuse and psychological problems are nonexistent, and judges cannot follow the history of repeat offenders because courts lack a computer-based information-sharing system.
[El Pais / Monica C. Belaza / Expatica]