A project managed by Pour le Sourire d'un Enfant
An analysis of crime trends, which has been conducted for several years by Pour le Sourire d’un Enfant (in joint publications with the Senegalese Ministry of Justice in 1998, 2006 and 2015) reveals that some juveniles and young adults (aged 18 to 21) in detention have fallen into disordered lifestyles, throwing into doubt the use of criminal sentencing and traditional educational approaches. Very few initiatives focus on the social reintegration of juveniles and young adults.
In an effort to address this issue, Pour le Sourire d’un Enfant designed and implemented its “fencing and restorative justice” method. Since 2015, over 900 fencing sessions have been held and nearly 300 juveniles from the Thiès correctional centre have taken part. None of these participants have reoffended, including those who were previously repeat offenders.
At the heart of the method is the concept of restorative justice. This is reinforced through fencing lessons, which open the way towards the use of a psycho-educational approach based on five basic concepts: identity, socialisation, self-control, responsibility, and the acquisition of technical and motor skills. This educational process aims to ensure that juveniles and young adults learn respect for their parents and others, apply themselves at school and are diligent at work.
- Prepare young people to return to society and break the cycle of reoffending
- Train prison staff
- Incorporate education into the prison environment and promote gender equality
- Developing a comprehensive “fencing and restorative justice” approach
- Introducing and supervising fencing sessions for former detainees in Thiès
- Monitoring the trajectories of young prisoners
Watch a video (in French) about the project at the Thiès detention centre
(with the fencer Astrid Guyart, a patron of the association Pour le Sourire d’un Enfant)
- Nearly 300 young detainees have benefited from the programme
- No reoffending among the juveniles who have taken part in the programme
- Approximately 30 prison officers trained in the “fencing and restorative justice” approach
- Improved social relations in the prison environment
- Project cost in 2019: approximately €35,000
- Project was supported in 2019 by the Agence Française de Développementand the European Guild and previously by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)
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