“Present in school, absent in penitentiary” - The local partnership project for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and children victimization
In 2009, the project “Present in class, absent in penitentiary” was awarded the honorable mention at the prestigious European Public Sector Awards competition (Maastricht, 2009)
The local partnership project for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and children victimization was initiated at the beginning of 2008 by the Local Police of Neamt County as a response to the ever-increasing rate of delinquency and the impact of violent and aggressive behavior of children, most of them unable to defend themselves. The Prefecture of Neamt County assumed a coordination role within this partnership framework and insured the visibility of the project through actions such as: mediation, monitoring, secretarial activities, organization of work groups and institutional presentation.
The project “Present in class, absent in penitentiary” soon became a strong local institutional partnership, which managed to attract and actively involve key local stakeholders such as: local public authorities, public deconcentrate services and local NGO.
The main objective of the project was to decrease crime rates
and risks for children by implementing key focused projects in the
field of juvenile delinquency prevention and children victimization
with a focus on educational, cultural, economic and social
activities aiming to diminish the factors which lead to delinquent
behavior in children.
The project “Present in school, absent in penitentiary” is a highly innovative project which fostered strong synergies among local stakeholders aiming to establish a common policy framework able to give a prompt response to these local challenges.
- Identification of categories of infants who are in a risk situation, either as victims or delinquents;
- Increasing the public awareness with regards to the real crime rate in which children are involved as well as key measures for prevention;
- Developing a partnership framework together with other institutions and organizations with key responsibilities in child protection as well as fostering the educational anti delinquent processes;
- Consolidation of the police-school partnership in order to enable the development of an educational process with a focus on anti-delinquency and antiviolence against children
- Intensification of police activities against delinquency and
victimization against children.
Social inclusion & Integration
Juvenile delinquency in the Neamt County has registered an increase during the past years. Seen the high number of children in this rate, the idea of this project has captured the interest of many local stakeholders who wanted to get involved in decreasing the incidence of this phenomenon. Therefore, increasing public awareness, involving youth in educational, cultural and recreational activities were some of the possible public policy alternatives able to respond to this problem.
Whereas, in 2007 the number of infants involved in antisocial
and delinquent activities was 547, it can be stated that this
figure has increased with approximately 11% compared with the level
Although, most of them were still at the age where they should have been in school, the majority of youngsters committing criminal acts were either school drop-outs or without an occupation. School drop-out, lack of occupation and recreational activities, family related problems are some of the factors, which determine delinquent behavior among infants. Moreover, 1 of 10 infants manifesting antisocial behavior had severe penalties on their name.
Since the problems associated with juvenile delinquency required the competences of several public institutions, the local police adopted an integrated approach consisting of the development of a multiple partnership among key local institutions and associations. Among these key institutions are the local police, the prefecture of the Neamt County, the municipality of Neamt, the association of family psychologists, local media and others.
The innovative character of the project consisted of the creative manner in which information was gathered from all the relevant partners in order to promote a social public policy with regard to juvenile delinquency prevention and infants victimization. A learning lesson was that in order to have a successful project it is absolutely necessary to set a list of local priorities, to identify the project partners, and also to establish institutional compatibilities. Is it also very important for a successful project to have between 4 to 6 partners, because it's possible that some partners might want to quit during the development phase, thus compromising the successful outcome of the project.
We had no funding for this project, therefore we only used the project partner’s human and material resources. Insufficient human resources meant that we had to work with people involved in different activities of the project. The lack of financial resources has made its mark on the activities organization and in the promotion of the results. We managed these difficulties by applying a flexible program and adjusting the instruments used to reach the objectives set, like replacing the large-scale activities with smaller-scale ones, which involve a smaller number of participants.
Prefecture of Neamt County
Function: Councilor, Prefecture of Neamt County
Project start date
Project end date