More than 130 young people admitted to educational centers at the end of March

58,09% were in a semi-open regime

At the end of March, 136 young people were hospitalized in educational centers in Portugal, 79 (58,09%) of whom were in a semi-open regime, according to data from the General Directorate of Reinsertion and Prison Services (DGRSP).

The monthly statistics for educational centers published on the authority's website, for March, require that 132 young people be “effectively present” in the centers, given that four were “in a situation of unauthorized absence”. The total occupancy rate was 101,49%.

In terms of evolution, the total number of hospitalized patients represents a growth of 3,03% compared to the same month of 2023, being the same as in the previous month, with 120 (88,24%) complying with the 'protective measure of hospitalization ' and seven the 'period of intensive supervision within the scope of hospitalization measures'.

Of the total of 136, 114 (83,82%) were boys, including 12 (8,82%) “of foreign nationality”, and 69,12% were between 16 and 20 years old. The group with the largest number was 16 years old, which amounted to 44 young people (32,35% of the total).

According to March statistics from educational centers, «the total of 136 young people admitted corresponded to a total of 447 types of crimes registered in the original judicial processes», with 'crimes against people' being predominant (59,51%) « namely, simple and serious voluntary physical integrity offenses”, followed by crimes against property (33,78%), with emphasis on “damage, theft and theft”.

Due to the increase in juvenile crime and group crime, the previous Government created in June 2022 a commission whose main objective was to study the phenomenon and present proposals for its reduction.

The latest report from this commission, published two weeks ago on the website of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Administration, indicated that the PSP and the GNR identified almost 2.500 young people up to the age of 20 involved in criminal groups last year.

In the first 10 months of last year, 64 children under the age of 12 were identified by the police as suspected members of criminal groups, whom the court does not send to reception centers.

The document from the Commission for the Integrated Analysis of Juvenile Delinquency and Violent Crime also indicated that in 2023, 1.840 incidents of juvenile delinquency were recorded by the security forces, which corresponds to an increase of 8,2% compared to 2022. In the case of GNR registered juvenile delinquency increased by 9,6% and in PSP by 6,2%.

According to the report, the two police forces recorded 6.757 incidents of group crime last year, an increase of 14,8% compared to 2022.

Juvenile delinquency numbers reached their highest levels since 2023 in 2015, while group crime has not been as high since 2013.

The commission proposes 16 new recommendations – in a total of 75 recommendations and lines of action formulated throughout the work – among which the “strengthening of programs, initiatives and campaigns aimed at promoting rational use of screens” and “the ability to detection, signaling and intervention at the level of children and young people at risk” in a school context.

Asked about this commission, Hugo Guinote, head of the PSP's Public Prevention and Proximity division, told Lusa that some of the final recommendations had already been identified by the police and “some responses had even been triggered”.

“It is only now that the 75 recommendations have been published and organizations are implementing different measures according to their possibilities and these results cannot have an immediate impact. It doesn't happen overnight because some of the measures are very comprehensive and will take time to take effect,” he stated.