Young in Prison’s reintegration and post-release program helped young offenders make the transition from incarceration to society by using Hip Hop as a tool for exploring topics such as identity, family, violence, and gender. The program also included education and lobbying activities to address over-incarceration and advocate for alternative sentencing.


Young in prison
Facebook / Stichting Young in Prison

In Bogotá, Colombia, thousands of children live on the streets, where they are easily lured into high-risk activities such as prostitution and drug trading. In the last 5 years, more than 150,000 youth have been arrested, and many of these children end up in correctional institutions that lack the capacity to give young offenders a chance to reform. Instead, these institutions become training grounds for young criminals.

Program Summary

Young in Prison’s reintegration and post-release program, ‘Construcción de Sociedad a traves del Hip Hop' (Construction of Society through Hip Hop) is a holistic program which seeks to prepare and aid young offenders in making the transition from incarceration to society through imparting life skills, using the arts of Hip Hop culture as primary tool both during prison time as after release. Through rap, breakdance, and graffiti-art, YiP explores topics of relevance to these young offenders, such as identity, family, violence and gender. The YIP program directly deals with Factor 8 (Criminal Justice) of the WJP Rule of Law Index, in particular subfactor 8.3 (Correctional system is effective in reducing criminal behavior). Colombia scored very low on this subfactor (0.21).

Key objectives include:

  1. Developing and implementing effective programs aimed at reintegrating young people in conflict with the law into society.
  2. Bringing attention to the plight of young people in conflict with the law in a positive way to governments, social institutions and the community of detainees through advocacy and lobbying.
  3. Enabling young grassroots organisations through capacity building to develop programs that target young people who are in conflict with the law.


YiP partners directly with locally-based grassroots organizations, developing interventions at the government, community, and individual level. Through rehabilitative sport and creative programs, YiP addresses the individual by facilitating creativity and personal development for children in conflict with the law, and aiding them in the reintegration process through mentoring and coaching projects. In order to strive for necessary and sustainable change, YiP educates surrounding communities and lobby local governments to address root problems such as over-incarceration and stigma, and to advocate for the use of diversion and alternative sentencing.


Partners include:

  • La Familia Ayara; and
  • Cultural Centre in Cali, Colombia

Program Details

Latin America & Caribbean