Homeless Teens in Prison
While most teens who are arrested in Mexico City have parents present at their hearings, there are still hundreds every year who are unaccompanied by family when they appear before a judge. Many of these unaccompanied teens are homeless. Lacking family support, they are cut off from alternative programs, such as supervised pretrial release or post-trial community service and probation, regardless of the crime committed or other factors. As a result, these kids spend more time in prison, mixed with more serious offenders. Extended pretrial detention is associated with a lower education level, higher suicide rate, and a greater risk of re-arrest. Furthermore, homeless kids in Mexico City are at great risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.
Casa Alianza, known as Covenant House in the United State and Canada, has been working with homeless teens in Mexico City for nearly 30 years. We have connected Casa Alianza with the Mexico City court so that we can identify kids who would otherwise qualify for pretrial release, but have no place to go. Casa Alianza is being integrated into the Pretrial Services project in Mexico City as well as a network of alternative placement nonprofits coordinated by our partner, REINTEGRA.