Because reducing the age of criminal responsibility requires a constitutional amendment, the proposal will need to go through further analysis in the lower house and another vote before moving to the senate where it will be further modified and voted on twice. It will need three-fifths in both houses to approve the bill in both voting rounds to be adopted. President DIlma Rousseff has come out passionately against reducing the age of criminal responsibility. However, since the amendment would not require her signature to be approved, she can only use presidential pressure among members of her coalition government to stop the amendment from passing. The Petrobras corrupt scandal has significantly weakened the coalition government and President Rousseff's approval ratings are abysmal, which in part allowed Cunha to use parliamentary maneuvering to secure a successful second vote.
In the US, the heartbreaking death of Kalief Browder, who spent three years in an abusive Riker's Island juvenile detention center without ever being found guilty of allegedly stealing a backpack, has renewed calls in New York State to reform the prison system and raise the age of criminal responsibility. New York and North Carolina are the only states in the US to charge all minors of a certain age as adults regardless of the crime. Most states use a combination of factors, including the severity of the crime, to determine whether a child should be tried as an adult.
Reducing the age will only serve to further overcrowd Brazil's appalling prisons, and increase Brazil's incarceration rate which is the fourth highest in the world following the USA, China and Russia. Research also suggests that it will not reduce the recidivism rate.
On the surface, Brazil's Constitution, the Children and Adolescents Act and System of Guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents make Brazil a world leader in child protection. Yet, the lack of adequate schools, the high rates of violence against children, especially those who are poor and black, and this fervent push to reduce the age of criminal responsibility reveal a country struggling and perhaps unwilling to properly safeguard the livelihoods of its most vulnerable citizens.