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Integration of post-prison/drug rehabilitation youth into the labor market

In Latin America, more than 154 million young people (over 54% of the youth population) is affected by poverty. Access to job opportunities is considered an important factor to reduce youth violence. However, the difficulties that young people find in accessing quality work can lead to social exclusion, which can culminate in violence.

This presents a formidable challenge to national and regional stability, making prevention and re-socialization the region’s first priorities. This situation is even more challenging when one examines youth who are released from prison or drug addiction centres. It is estimated that approximately 3.7 million people are incarcerated in Latin America, representing 36% of the prison population worldwide. Youth released from prison centres are heavily discriminated against and stigmatized by public authorities, the private sector, their communities, and families. They experience a "social death", without dreams or aspirations and without the institutional accompaniment for their reintegration into society. This doubles their burden in accessing adequate job opportunities and contributes to the risk of reoffending. In the absence of adequate support and options, people are more likely to fall back into violence.

This project seeks to identify and promote opportunities for social and labour inclusion of youth released from prison or drug addiction treatment centres. In concrete terms, it evaluates the implementation of two specific and promising intervention models to integrate youth leaving penitentiary and drug treatment centres back into the workforce. Both models seek to enhance social and life skills, as well as professional training for youth at risk. The project findings will be strengthened through the exchange of relevant experiences from other countries such as Costa Rica and Spain.

This project is part of a broader initiative launched in 2016 aiming to revisit the linkages between youth, violence, and economic opportunities in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
18 months
IDRC Officer
Nicholas Benequista
Total Funding
CA$ 172,700.00
Costa Rica
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Project Leader
Rafael Zevallos
Fundación Jesús Luz de Oportunidades