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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff took to social media on Monday to speak out against a bill which would reduce the age for criminal responsibility from eighteen to sixteen years old. The bill was approved at the end of March by the Commission of Constitution and Justice at the Chamber of Deputies and is now being analyzed by a special commission before being voted by Congressional representatives.

Detained youths being transferred to facility near Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Detained youths being transferred to a facility near Brasília, photo by Marcelo Camargo/Agencia Brasil.

“The place for boys and girls is in school,” said Rousseff in her Facebook and Twitter accounts. “There should be no impunity for those who direct children and teenagers towards crime,” added the President.

According to President Rousseff it would be a step backwards for the country to allow the bill to become law. The President agrees with some analysts that reducing the age of criminal responsibility is not the solution to solving the problem of juvenile wrongdoings.

Rousseff noted that Brazil has an advanced legislation in regards to its children and adolescents, and that the Child and Adolescent Statue should not be disregarded, but rather improved upon. For Rousseff the law should be tougher on those adults who lead children into a life of crime.

The bill was introduced last year after several violent incidents involving minors. In one case, in São Paulo, a seventeen year-old boy, a week shy of turning eighteen shot and killed another youngster in a robbery attempt. According to Brazilian law, minors who commit serious offenses are sent to juvenile centers and released when they turn eighteen.

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