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UJJRP supports the establishment of a new service for youth in conflict with the law in Melitopol

Admin 31/03/2010 882 News / Press Releases

31 March 2011 – Melitopol took a first step towards the establishment of a new service for youth who have been convicted of a crime and given a suspended sentence by holding three days of seminars for more than 40 participants. These events aimed to train staff of the new service and introduce the new service to other members of the youth justice system in Melitopol.

The new service is a pilot project under the auspices of the UJJRP and is the first of its kind in Ukraine. Over the past year the project has been in Melitopol working with JJ agencies and community, under the auspices of a Pilot Coordination Group, to develop a plan for an improvement of services for youth to prevent their criminality and decide on a specific pilot project that would achieve this goal. The Pilot coordination group is comprised of the main agencies dealing with youth who have come into conflict with the law, including social services, criminal executive inspection, court, prosecutions, law enforcement and corrections and is led by the head of the Melitopol City Court, Mr. Viktor Fomin.

As a result of these activities, the plan determined that there were two priority needs in Melitopol:

  • To improve coordination of services between agencies.
  • To pay individual attention to youth who have come into conflict with law to promote more effective rehabilitation and prevent future criminal behavior.

To meet these needs, it was decided to develop an "attendance center”, which is based on a Canadian model, to act as a coordinating center for assessment and service provision of youth who have committed crimes and received a conditional sentence with the goal of promoting rehabilitation of the youth.

In Canada, Youth Attendance Centers were introduced as part of the new Youth Criminal Justice legislation that came into effect in 2003. One facet of this new program that makes it particularly interesting is that Youth Attendance Centers were in fact introduced as a sentence as an alternative to custody, meaning that youth convicted of a crime could be sentenced to attend a Youth Attendance Center program rather than be sentenced to custody. This new methodology has been interpreted by different provinces in Canada. In Alberta, for example, Youth Attendance Centers provide a variety of programs to enhance the supervisory aspects of probation, support youth who are currently serving a sentence and for youth that have completed custody sentences and are returning home.

In Ukraine, youth who have received suspended sentences are normally referred to the Criminal Executive Inspection (CEI) for registration. The CEI is playing an active role in the project to assist in the assessment of needs of the youth and supervise their progress. The Attendance Centre will provide services to address the needs of the youth, such as problems with alcohol, learning problems that prevent completion of education or problems with relating to peers. The Melitopol Youth Attendance Center will be established as a subdivision of the Municipal Social Services Center for Families, Children and Youth.

This week, a representative of a Youth Attendance Center from Alberta, Canada is taking part in the seminar to provide information Attendance Center functioning. An expert from Russia is also participating to share the Russian experience of reform in the sphere and the methodologies used in assessment of such youth.

Staff from the Municipal Social Services Center for Families, Children and Youth and Criminal Executive Inspection will be considering this information to determine the methodologies that will work best in Melitopol to deal with the rehabilitation of youth referred to the attendance center.

The center will continue to be developed and refined over the course of the next year with the first step being to develop the capacity of the Social Services Center staff to undertake the new duties as Attendance Center Staff. The second step will be concerned with expanding the base of programs which the Attendance Center can use to help rehabilitate the youth.

L-r: Melitopol Municipal Social Services Center Director Tetyana Shevchenko;
Canadian Field Advisor for UJJRP Tawnia Sanford Ammar;
Melitopol City District Court Head Viktor Fomin
and Melitopol Vice-Mayor Iryna Donets,
during the conference, Melitopol, 31 March 2011.

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