On October 27, the Symposium launched with an audience of participants and supporters from North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. John Kamm spoke about Dui Hua’s history of expert exchanges and the need to pay greater attention to the crisis of girls in conflict with the law. Taghreed Jaber, Penal Reform International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) gave a summary of the situation of girls in conflict with the law in the MENA region. Patricia Lee of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office presented on the impending closure of San Francisco’s juvenile hall.

Here are some of the key takeaways from this event:

“The fact that girls within the criminal justice system are a minority is unfortunately putting them in more risks in facing this crisis and in facing double discrimination within the criminal justice system.” – Taghreed Jaber

“We hear this term ‘crisis’ used quite a bit…Rarely if ever do we talk about the crisis of girls in conflict with the law, so we’re going to raise awareness of the crisis…We want to exchange best practices and make recommendations to governments.” – John Kamm

“Even though the girls comprise a small percentage of youth in custody, they present with very serious behavioral and mental health issues, and any child that touches the carceral system and is housed in a detention facility is traumatized by that experience.” – Patricia Lee