TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, May 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández announced the formation of a commission that will consider reforms to the country's criminal justice system -- including whether to lower the age at which alleged offenders can be charged as adults.
"I have given instructions to the secretary general of Internal Affairs, Dr. Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro, to gather jurists and sociologists who can bring together different sectors of society to review two questions," he said. "Do we treat minors differently, even when they have committed horrendous crimes, or do we treat them like adults, as they do in other countries?"
The commission will also explore how to restructure the country's penitentiary system in order to reintegrate young offenders into society. As part of that work, the commission will conduct an in-depth review of Honduras's juvenile detention centers.
"The entire penitentiary system has become paralyzed, and part of what is not working is its treatment of minors," Hernández said.
Hernández lamented that criminal organizations exploit minors to commit crimes, knowing that the law does not allow them to be tried as adults. The result is that youths -- frequently boys -- enter into a life of crime before they reach adulthood. Adult criminals, meanwhile, avoid justice.
"We should give minors options, so that they can be reintegrated into society and not lost to us," he said.
Youths participate in almost 40 percent of high-impact crimes in Honduras.
The commission will seek input from human rights groups, children's rights groups, civil society organizations, and churches.
President Hernández stated that he does not have an exact age in mind at which he believes minors should be tried as adults. "The commission will delve deeply into this question and give us the information to make that decision," he said.
"But we cannot delay any longer. This goal of this initiative is to protect the lives of Hondurans."
202-471-4228 ext. 118
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/honduran-president-announces-commission-to-review-criminal-justice-reforms-for-minors-300456619.html
SOURCE Republic of Honduras