Further compounding the situation these juvenile offenders and their families face, the economic crisis gripping the country has also collided with the coronavirus pandemic. While Movement Social were able to continue providing their legal, psychological, and social work services remotely over the phone, measures introduced by the prison authorities to prevent coronavirus from spreading meant that the rehabilitation programme came to a halt and families and organisations like Mouvement Social were unable to attend the prison for face-to-face visits from March 2020 to June 2021.
The economic crisis is also preventing some families from visiting their children.
“With the crisis, fuel has become very expensive. Some families can’t go to the prison because they can’t afford the price of transportation,” explains Charlotte Tanios, Protection Sector Co-ordinator with Mouvement Social.
Many of the families are unable to afford a lawyer or the fees required to be paid for their child to be released from prison. For others, providing money to pay for their children’s basics is beyond reach.
“Children need soap, tissues, a toothbrush. The parents pay for them and they are collected from a shop inside the prison, but the prices are also very expensive.”
Despite the scale of the challenges they face, Mouvement Social’s programme has continued to make a difference.
“We are working in a hard situation but no more than five out of about 60 juveniles we support each year return to prison,” Charlotte concludes.