Ms. Naila Rizqi Zakiah holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Jember in East Java, Indonesia. Since her college days, Ms. Naila found her passion in juvenile justice while volunteering at LBH Masyarakat Jember, the only legal aid organization in Jember at the time. After graduation and passing her Bar in 2014, Ms Naila became a Public Defender at LBH Masyarakat providing legal assistance to underprivileged and marginalized people. Aside from her public defense work, Naila volunteers at Sahabat Anak, teaching street children to read, count and speak in English.
The Challenge: Indonesia enacted Law Number 11, regarding the Juvenile Criminal Justice System in 2014. The goal of this law is to provide better protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law and promotes children’s interests as a top priority.
However, this law is poorly implemented. Through her work with LBH Masyarakat, Ms. Naila has witnessed many challenges faced by children and youth who have committed crimes. At Lapas Klas IIA Salemba, Jakarta and Rutan Pondok Bambu, Jakarta, children and youth were not separated from adult offenders and often received cruel and degrading treatment from police officers. These youngsters were unaware of their rights and most believed they deserved such treatment as a consequence of their actions.
Currently, Ms. Naila is in-charge of legal counselling for underage detainees in LBH Masyarakat, with only one other colleague to work with they were heavily under staffed. Realising the need for a more sustainable and effective way of educating and assisting the underage detainees. She came up with the idea of “Underage Legal Mentors for Underage Detainees”
Naila educated underage inmates regarding the rights of children in conflict with the law sharing this legal information and in turn they became becoming mentors to other underage detainees. As these mentors had already gone through the legal procedures they knew what underage detainees would face. This experience combined with the training on their legal rights has enabled them to provide effective legal mentorship for underage detainees. Encouraging juvenile detainees to help others has had a positive effect on their self-esteem that they will carry through post incarceration and reintegration into society . Ultimately educating the juvenile prison population and authorities about legal rights helps to eradicate abuses in the prison system.