A 2002 study of the Peruvian juvenile justice system found that roughly one-fifth of the population in youth detention facilities were under the age of 16 and one-third had committed minor offenses. Adolescent offenders were almost always deprived of due process guarantees, and prosecutors and judges rarely made use of available alternatives to detention. In 2005, Encuentros introduced its Restorative Juvenile Justice (RJJ) model in two districts in Lima and Chiclayo. Under the model, police stations are staffed with teams of lawyers, social workers and psychologists who provide legal orientation and psychosocial assessments to adolescents who come into conflict with the law. Those adolescents who have committed minor offenses and have a family member who can take responsibility for them are eligible to enroll in the RJJ program, in which intervention plans are developed based on individual educational, vocational and social needs. Participating adolescents are regularly monitored and offered support where needed, and strongly encouraged to make reparations for their offenses through mediation with the victim or community service. A recent survey found that only 7.5 percent of participants in the RJJ program have subsequently committed another offense.
State officials have expressed interest in replicating components of the RJJ program in three additional districts in Lima and the city of Trujillo, and have allocated funds accordingly. With this grant, Encuentros will provide technical support to ensure the success and sustainability of the program's transfer to the state.