25th Hour

This article will be very honest. In fact, it might even put my future political career at risk 🙂

Let’s say that I was a naughty child that liked to get to know the world by making troubles. This is how my first encounter with the justice at the age of around 12 years can be explained.

For playing at a construction site without permission I found myself held in arrest (and for trying to escape from the police:). Some consequences of the justice system for juveniles were to ensue. I was monitored by parents and teachers for some time, some of my schoolmates were advised not to play with me, and so on. First thought I was having when I realized what mess I had made was: “Am I going be a lawyer, ever?”

Yes, I became a lawyer.

But as it is said in a movie: “This story was so close to not happening”.

Many children do not have a chance to become lawyers. Instead they become criminals.

The Juvenile Anti-Social Behaviors Act dates back from 1958. It is outdated and provides no special protection for children in conflict with the law. The Criminal Procedure Code does not fully accord with the provisions of the Children Rights Directive. Although there are many good postulates in our law regarding children in conflict with the law, one of them being the “deviation from punishment” provisions of the Criminal Code of Bulgaria, there is still a huge need for reform of the system in order to accord with the EU principles. Under Bulgarian law, some children in conflict with the law are placed in institution-like detention centers called Social-Pedagogical Schools where they are being systematically abused which opens the path to the criminal realms, the chances to escape from which should be viewed as enormously… low.

This article is not about me, it is about us. Complaining about the problems will not solve the problems. Extracting them from the roots will.

It is in our hands to make the plot of the movie a happy one.

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