New Opportunities for Foreign Juveniles
This project aims at increasing support to foreign minors in the penal system, offering a variety of opportunities to minors under arrest, particularly first offenders. The challenge of the penal institutions and social workers is that of gaining the trust of the minors by establishing significant, intense relationships. The project offers selected minors a "minimal pact," offering opportunities to promote relationships based on mutual trust. A widespread network has been created, including community outreach staff, peers, cultural mediators, representatives of informal associations and ethnic communities; working together, they are in a position to accompany the minors and offer continual proposals for daily activities, for both individuals and groups. The minor is guaranteed that this minimal pact can be transformed into clear proposals and serious commitments on behalf of the partner organisations.
The project aims at reducing the "dual trial system for minors," one track for Italians - who have far more options given their support from their families and the fact that they are Italian citizens - and another track for immigrants. Those involved in the projects make a concerted effort to know as much as possible about the minor under arrest, thereby enhancing and coordinating the network of support, bringing together the various public and private services and resources, so as to propose personalized projects to the judges.
Priority is given to minors having their first contact with the penal circuit, those who are less compromised by a deviant life style. At the same time support may be offered to adolescents who are known to the system, including those who are interred in penal institutions and appear to have a sincere interest in making a commitment to freeing themselves from deviant behavior.
In this first period of experimentation, activities are concentrated on minors within the area of Turin , originating from the ethnic communities with the most minor offenders, presently those from Rumania, the Maghreb and Senegal.
The project entails support of activities organised by both public and private partner organizations in the third sector, so as to increase the commitments and role of institutions active in the area. Support is given to existing projects considered worthy of further development, with particular attention to increasing the presence of services and activities for interested minors, including:
- support of the short term juvenile residential centre of the Juvenile Justice Department (the CPA), the primary access point to the project, reinforcing the presence of cultural mediators in the Centre within the framework of the "In and Out" project organized by the municipality of Turin; minors remain in this centre for a maximum period of three days;
- strengthening the city's program for territorial education for unaccompanied minors so as to expand the role of staff tutoring the minors;
- organisation and management of two small apartments, called "House of Rumania" and "House of Africa," so as to enable live-in educational staff to give support to unaccompanied minors, responding to the absence of housing facilities which would be available to Italians when leaving the CPA, thereby gaining more time to define the projects of the individual minors;
- increasing the resources to promote opportunities of access to scholastic and professional training courses, as well as training grants for jobs;- support of a centre that offers psychological treatment and support to adolescents and their families for individual cases identified by the educators and cultural mediators;
- Legal consultancy service for individual cases and to guarantee the training of N.o.Mi.s. partners in current rules and regulations concerning minors and young foreigners; - During the first months of 2012, an experimental period was started in collaboration with Gruppo Abele, the City of Torino, and Cooperativa Esserci. Its purpose was to find new opportunities of involvement into the issues of minors in difficulty and their families, for young Latin Americans, mainly Peruvians, newly reunited with their families and at risk of deviant behaviour, prevalently resident in City District Nr. 3.
The functions of policy making and of defining the project’s strategic guidelines are carried out by an inter-institutional meeting, whose participants are the Regione Piemonte, the Province and the City of Torino, the Center of Justice for Minors for Piedmont and the Valley of Aosta, the Prefecture, the Juvenile Court, the Public Prosecutor’s office at the Juvenile Court, and the Town Consortium for Social-Assistance of Rivoli.
The implementation of the various actions envisaged by the project is entrusted to bodies that belong to the public administration, to ethnic associations, and to social cooperation:
Ufficio Pio, Cooperativa Sociale Esserci; Cooperativa Sociale Synergica, Associazione Frantz Fanon, Associazione Gruppo Abele, Oratorio San Luigi – Istituto S. Giovanni Evangelista, Istituto Bernardi Semeria – Opere pastorali don Bosco di Rivoli, Associazione ASAI, Associazione Il Nostro Pianeta, and Associazione ASGI.
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