Socio-educational measures are applied to teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 who have committed an offense. According to Brazil’s Child and Adolescent Statute (ECA), a socio-educational unit should work as a pedagogical space of care. However, most times it becomes a punitive one, with prison-like characteristics. It is the State’s duty to provide protection to children and adolescents. If socio-educational measures work to protect children and adolescents, it is important to know how these units promote their development. These measures can help build life projects, which is why it is fundamental to imagine them as pedagogical institutions as opposed to places of stigma, violence, and exclusion.