Understanding juvenile transitions from the justice system
Joseph, Angela Isabel
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The main purpose of this qualitative research project is to understand the transition process of young people from the Youth Justice (YJ) system and identify the factors that influence them during this process. The research included eight youth participants who were involved in a concept mapping workshop, and five professionals who were interviewed. The youth participants who had either current or previous YJ involvement were provided through the mapping workshop the choice to share their experiences either verbally, pictorially or textually (written). They discussed their early influences for their criminal offending, their time in YJ, the transition processes they were involved in, their lives post-transition and their hopes for the future, and their own recommendations on how the process can be improved for future YJ youth. The five professionals who at some point were working with youth with YJ involvement were interviewed about the YJ transition process. During the interviews they spoke about their experiences working with YJ youth, the processes undertaken when a young person transitions from YJ, and their own recommendation on improving the transition process and practice for youth offenders. According to the participants there are various risk and protective factors that affect youth during and after their transition from YJ and can either hinder or encourage their successful outcomes. From the findings it is suggested that YJ youth need to connect positively to their social environment and be provided with effective youth participation. In addition the research identified the need to incorporate a positive youth development approach while working with young people from the YJ system, in order for them to have positive outcomes. The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa (YDSA) has been used to analyse and discuss the findings of this study. Moreover, the framework provided by the YDSA has been used to present recommendations towards facilitating successful outcomes for YJ youth, and suggestions for improving policy and practice that affect YJ youth transitioning from the justice system.