In this presentation of the dossier Adolescents deemed as a problem: narrative disputes, production of law and punishment, we build on the international debate on contemporary trends in juvenile justice and present a discussion on the advance of punitivism in the Brazilian juvenile justice, based on the analysis of disputes in the political arena. The discussion comprises (i) the systematization of indicators of ‘punitivism’ in juvenile justice and of the related data; and (ii) the analysis of political disputes in the legislative and the judiciary based on data of law production related to the topic during the 30 years since the promulgation of the Statute of Child and Adolescent (ECA) and on the case of the lawsuit on unconstitutionality no. 3,446 (Ação Direta de Insconstitucionalidade – ADI 3446). We seek to demonstrate that, in the political arena, ECA's perspective has prevailed and punitive speeches have rather symbolic than practical effects. Punitive, discursive and non-discursive practices were not institutionalized in legal provisions or official policies of the Brazilian juvenile justice system. However, existing data on other punitive indicators show that the punitive logic seems to have space in the functioning of institutions directly responsible for guarding young offenders.
punitiveness; juvenile justice; Statute of Child and Adolescent; young offenders; reduction of age for criminal responsibility