Sant'Egidio's commitment to humanise the living conditions of the youth detained in the juvenile prison in Dakar, Senegal

The Hann Detention and Correctional Centre ( ex Fort B), located in the district municipality of Hann Bel Air in Dakar, was a former colonial fort abandoned by the French army in 1964. In 1971, it was converted into a juvenile prison and annexed to the Dakar Central Prison. It is the only juvenile prison in Senegal. The youngest inmate is 11 years old, while the oldest is 17.
Sant'Egidio accompanies and supports these young inmates, mainly from the outskirts of Dakar or remote areas of Senegal, in various ways. These young people, poor and with a low level of education, are often marginalised and considered as "potential delinquents" dangerous to society, enemies of the social order. People to be guarded against, to be 'segregated' in prison, and not as young people in need of support and accompaniment
This is Sant'Egidio's commitment, its presence has been organised to provide different services: education, vocational training to become plumbers, catechesis for the few Christians present; legal assistance - sometimes involving the payment of bail - and support for their return to their families after their release.
Thus, a lasting, sincere and trusting friendship has developed between the Community and the young detainees. And also with their families. Many parents cannot afford to travel to the capital and visit their children, so Sant'Egidio becomes the link between them and their children.
All the activities are carried out in collaboration with the prison administration, which has recently sent a letter of appreciation and thanks  to the Community "for its ten-year commitment to young inmates, which has helped to humanise prison living conditions".
The presence of the Community in fact reassures the young convicts that, despite the distance between them and their families, they can count on the caring presence of their Sant'Egidio friends, and offers them prospects for a better life, work and social integration after prison.
Prison population and Sant'Egidio activities
Currently, the prison hosts 134 inmates, compared to a capacity of 85. Of these:
102 are in pre-trial detention.
32 are convicts.
10 are foreign nationals, mainly Malians and Guineans from Conakry.
5 inmates are in prolonged detention (more than 3 years).
Sant'Egidio's engagement:
Literacy: helping young people to read and write.
Training as plumbers: providing practical skills for future employment.
Catechesis: spiritual support for Christian prisoners.
Bail Payment: helping detainees to return home.
Legal aid: defending prisoners' rights.

Reintegration support: facilitating the return to the family after release.