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Boys Behind Bars

The Juvenile Detention Center, in the city of Boichinovtsi, Bulgaria is the only juvenile correctional facility for boys in the country. It is located in Northwestern Bulgaria, close to the city of Montana. Bulgaria has no detention center for girls, as there have never been more than a few girls sentenced to imprisonment or detained pending trial. Juvenile females are placed in a separate ward at the Womenís Prison in the city of Sliven.

As of August 4, 2008, The Juvenile Detention Center for boys was home to 75 juveniles between the ages of 14 and 21, all of whom have committed crimes. †About 50% are from the Roma ethnic minority, 30% are of Turkish ethnic origin, and 20% are Bulgarians.

Many of the juveniles come from large, poor families. In these cultures, it is common for mothers to give birth to many children in order to become eligible for social services from the government. Most of these children have not received any education. Many are victims of unfortunate family environments where their parents have not adequately cared for their children. They end up in the juvenile detention center for theft or rape; others are sentenced to serve 10 years for murder.

Once their sentence is complete, they leave the detention center, but many of them commit another crime and end up either returning to the Detention Center, or being sentenced to any of the adult prisons throughout the country. For most of the juveniles, it is an endless cycle of detention.




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