The territorial delegate of Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration of the Junta de Andalucía in Almería, José Luis Delgado, has visited today the male Educational Group for juvenile offenders, a residential open environment resource, where the minors live together, although in freedom, and the educators. Delgado highlighted the great work carried out by the professionals who work for these boys “so that they do not only serve a judicial measure for the crime they have committed, but to achieve their re-education and give them a chance” and the commitment of the Regional Ministry led by Juan Marín to this type of resource.
In the educational groups, the minors lead a normal life, attend their schools or work centres, where appropriate, do sports, workshops or excursions, and can go home at the weekend; all of this, always depending on their behaviour, the objectives of their Individualised Programme for the Execution of the Measure and the rest of the commitments included in the sentence.
In the case of the male group in Almería, whose management has just been awarded to the organisation Meridianos, it is a home with eight places and where 19 minors passed through last year. The average occupancy rate is very high and, although seven are currently occupied, it is common for all eight to be occupied. The average duration of the measure is between 15 and 18 months and the most common offence committed by the minors is child abuse and domestic violence.
In this sense, Delgado underlined the specialisation of this resource “in crimes that derive from a conflictive coexistence”. The main objective of the educators is to teach the children how to live together and try to reconcile the situation with their parents. To this end, the children are initially segregated from the family until they progressively spend weekends and holiday periods with them prior to their complete return to their family environment.
Almeria has two educational groups, one male and one female, and in both resources individual intervention is carried out with each young person. They also work with the family through therapeutic intervention, mediation, counselling and support to prevent the same behavioural problems from recurring when the child returns home. To this end, each group has nine professionals including psychologists, educators, social workers and pedagogues, among others.
The delegate has highlighted the complication of managing this type of resource, as the educators have to reconcile the problems of coexistence that arise in the group, “even more so with the current situation of the pandemic, so I have to thank them for the great effort they make and have been making to ensure that all safety measures are met and that no problems arise within the group”.
“Our open environment resources are recognised by judges and prosecutors, because they have been consolidated as an effective alternative to internment, which is usually used for more serious crimes or cases of recidivist minors”, therefore, he added that “the commitment of the Regional Ministry led by Juan Marín to Juvenile Justice is absolute, because we are completely convinced that with the right tools we can recover them, giving them a chance and a future. Everyone deserves a second chance”.