Promoting Justice, Security, and Opportunities for Young People

October is Youth Justice Awareness Month in the U.S.—a time in which justice sector stakeholders and communities across the country renew commitments to improving outcomes for young people involved with the justice system. In the U.S., NCSC experts are working on the frontlines of research, education and technology development to advance juvenile justice. Through programs such as the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative, among others, NCSC and our partners work to advance evidence-based practices in juvenile justice that will accelerate reform, enhance public safety, and ensure that offenders are held accountable.

Our experiences in the U.S. have informed our efforts to advance juvenile justice in other countries. In September, NCSC launched a series of initiatives that are dedicated to strengthening justice systems and improving outcomes for young people throughout Central America and the Caribbean. These initiatives are part of NCSC’s continued commitment to working with our counterparts to address the transnational effects of crime and instability in the region. We are committed to local solutions to juvenile justice challenges, and promote approaches that enhance the resilience of communities affected by crime and violence.

With the support of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), NCSC will implement a Juvenile Justice and Pre-Trial Detention Program in Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador, utilizing evidence-based practices and cross-cutting approaches that target justice, security and development outcomes together.

In St. Lucia, NCSC worked in partnership with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the generous support of USAID to create a curriculum to cover some of the most pressing issues of juvenile justice.  The curriculum, in addition to addressing judicial leadership and the importance of data-informed practices, emphasized restorative justice and diversion in response to OECS legislation intended to support youth.  

In cooperation with the United Nations Development Program and with the support of USAID in Trinidad and Tobago, NCSC is working to consider various models of Youth Court that would be effective in the region, as well as to identify available rehabilitative services in the community and effective referral mechanisms.  This effort is intended to translate into speedier delivery of services to youth in need.   

NCSC is pleased to play a part in strengthening cooperation in Central America and the Caribbean, and we welcome the opportunity to work together to address our shared goals and objectives.