When a young person is involved in the judicial system, they will come in contact with a large number of professionals. Each one of them can have an impact on their trajectory – either positive or negative. For this reason, the Youthlab aims to reach a diverse range of judiciary and (forensic) youth care professionals.
Justice professionals who could benefit from our Youthlab training, are professionals who
- either play structural role in the process of a youngster and have direct working-relationship with them, while residing in closed facility and/or after release – such as: pedagogical workers/group workers or probation officers or therapists;
- have a large impact on the lives of a youngster by their decision-making, such as judges and prosecutors;
- might have a large impact by their approach and interacting with youngsters at the start of their arrest/trial or in the neighborhood, like police officers.
While the professional’s profile varies and should not determine their ability to participate in the exchanges, the willingness to go the extra miles and eagerness to learn have proven to be positive during the exchanges and afterwards
As adults, we always presume to teach young people, but this time it was they who taught us something, in fact a great deal.Lawyer – Youth x Professional Exchange participant, Italy
Justice professionals meet and hear many different young people in conflict with the law, in their line of work. They often have complex professional roles, with a high workload and many (if not all!) exceptional cases. This might cause the professionals to simply lack the time to get involved in the lives/stories of the youngster, even though they might truly want to know and see the importance of their perspective.
When getting involved in the Youthlab, we underline that the aim of the initiative is to foster an understanding of the youngster that goes beyond their file. An understanding that is characterized by the perspective, needs and experiences of the youngster. Through the youth-x-justice exchanges, the juniors inspire the professionals to always be reminded that every youngster has its own life story.
The exchange sessions are a safe space and learning environment for both youngsters and professionals, to share and learn from each other’s perspectives, roles and responsibilities in the proces. The aim is to invite and encourage the professional to always try to see/understand through the eyes of the youngster, making that extra mile to understand their needs and help to find its way towards his best path in life.
Moreover, the conversations that professionals can have with the experienced experts in the session help them understand the language and reasoning of young people as well. The language of youngsters, especially with street slang, is often misunderstood and their behavior misinterpreted. Young people get the opportunity to explain to professionals why they think it’s best to use their right to remain silent or what’s actually happening within them behind the (sometimes) closed or indifferent attitude.