Juvenile Justice Project
Resonance, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), and the National Foundation for Development (FUNDE)
October 2017 – September 2019
Navigating the critical transition from childhood to young adulthood can be challenging under any circumstance. In El Salvador, however, this transition is particularly fraught. El Salvador has one of the world’s highest homicide rates and nearly one in three Salvadoran households experience poverty. Gangs exercise territorial control and extort residents in municipalities throughout the country. In Latin America, El Salvador has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment, and the percentage of youth in the informal sector is well above the average. With limited opportunities, thousands of youth are forcibly recruited or turn to gangs as a way of earning resources or protection. For young people seeking to resist the pressure to join a gang, migration – generally to the United States – is often seen as the only escape route.
The USAID/El Salvador Juvenile Justice Project works with public and private partners for the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth who have come into conflict with the law (YICL), particularly those who have received alternative sentences (i.e., punishments other than a jail term). The project seeks to enable El Salvador’s juvenile justice system to reduce recidivism rates for YICL. The project focuses on young people (ages 12-17), who are eligible for alternative sentencing programs within the municipalities of Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Salvador, Colon, and Zacatecoluca. The project’s four core objectives are:
Resonance worked to cultivate high-impact partnerships with the private sector to advance the objectives of the Juvenile Justice Project. Resonance engaged the private sector as employers, mentors, and co-founders of activities for alternative sentencing to benefit target youth.