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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 97 15:05:35 CDT
From: sejup@ax.apc.org
Subject: Brazil: Profile of youth offenders
Article: 12310

Majority of young offenders live with their families

SEJUP (Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz), News from Brazil, No. 275, 5 June 1997

According to a survey carried out by Social Services Office of the Child and Youth Courts of Sao Paulo, 60% of young offenders in Sao Paulo city sent to youth prisons during 1995 lived with their parents when they committed the crime for which they were condemned. A further 7% lived with relatives; 4% lived with another family and 1% lived with other people who had taken on responsibility for them. The popular perception of such offenders frequently is that they live on the streets.

Only 6% of youth condemned to such institutions lived on the streets at the time of the crime. The survey report sums up by commenting 'contrary to what is often thought, such adolescents do not live on the streets. The majority have a family which has been excluded from its' rights to citizenship - without work and without guarantees which would permit such families to maintain and educate their children'.

According to the survey which examined the situation of the 121 children and youth condemned during 1995 in the city of Sao Paulo the typical young offender who was sentenced in the special courts was male, between 16 and 18 years of age, had not being studying or working, resides with their family and is supported financially by their mothers. 89.25% were male and 52.06% were in the 16 to 18 age group. 50.41% were not in school and 31.5% were being maintained by their mothers. In 27.4% of the cases the fathers were responsible for the financial support of the condemned youth. 50.74% admitted that they used drugs while 35.82% claimed that they had never used drugs and 13.44% said that they had given up the use of drugs. Of the drugs used, crack was the most commonly used by 41.86% of the drug dependents. Cocaine was used by 13.95% in this group. 11.6% claimed that their involvement in crime was due to the influence of parents or relatives who were criminals.