Executive Summary of the Project

The main objective of the project

was to design, test and validate a tool – the Vademecum – which permits to implement a programme for punishment alternative to the detention of minors offenders, focused on re-habilitation and re-integration of minors. The Vademecum is the tangible expression of a re-educational programme defined by the Consortium and based on some key principles: 1) promoting the overall well-being of the deviant youngster, foster self-expression, the respect for dignity and autonomy, recovery of the victim; 2) promoting the reinsertion and social education of minors subjected to judicial penalties, reducing the risk of possible aggravations or relapse following the punishment; 3) involving the offenders’ families in the programme of re-education, re-habilitation and re-integration supported by a work-based tangible approach.

The main activities of the project were:

  1. mapping and scoping current skills and needs regarding alternative measures to imprisonment for minor offenders, with reference to: methodological approach; institutions, Justice authorities and professionals in each involved country; procedural and principles of Juvenile Justice System; good practices, conclusions and recommendations for alternative punishment and juvenile crime prevention;
  2. structure and testing in Italy, Romania and Bulgaria the Vademecum addressing working processes as an alternative to punishment, based on the principles of re-education, rehabilitation, personal development, and social inclusion;
  3. sensitize and train target groups and stakeholders on the topics covered by the structured programme developed in the Vademecum.

The key results were:

  • Mapping and scoping results: in the 30 analysed good practices the common strengths were the activities aimed to develop social skills, conflict resolution, positive relationships and access to intensive support –through providing adequate leisure facilities and activities for young people.
  • Vademecum designing results: the consortium refined and consolidated an integrated system of interventions, aimed to education and/or rehabilitation of minor offenders. The publication is divided in 2 parts: the first one regards Recommendations for the analysis and the planning of a child-friendly action inside the juvenile justice system, that must be aware, effective and methodology-based; the second part defines the role of the multi-disciplinary equip, Functional rules for carrying out the activities (addressed to users and visitors), and provides Procedures and forms for daily activities in the facilities for minor offenders (for example Mod. 1: Daily record attendance and logbook, Mod. 2: Anamnestic analysis, Mod. 3: Individual Educational project, Mod. 4: Home visit, Mod. 5: Interview with Services / Institutions and Bodies, Mod. 6: Interview with the minor, Mod. 7: Interview with school-work agencies, Mod. 8: delivery in custody of personal items)
  • Vademecum testing results: the application of Vademecum and its tools in different facilities for minor offenders in 3 countries (Italy, Romania and Bulgaria) showed that it’s possible to implement a common approach even if there is diversity of politics and administration of juvenile justice. As result of testing 5 multipliers receipt the methodologies provided in the Vademecum. I.P.J. TIMIȘ (RO) expressed the recommendation for the Vademecum application as relevant tool for the service improvement in Romania; the operative guideline “Vademecum Operativo Wendy torna a casa” provided by the Regional Centre for Juvenile Justice (CGM Puglia) in Italy, for the juvenile justice facilities, adopted parts of tools provided in Alternative Tracks Vademecum.
  • Vademecum testing results: 53 minor offenders were directly engaged in an integrated program for restorative justice, conflict mediation, rehabilitation and vocational workshops as part of the pathway for their social and job integration after the punishment (as handicrafts, agriculture, etc). Professionals involved in the equips and minors completed evaluation questionnaires, underlining the validity of the instruments provided by the Vademecum, and recommended their use in other similar contexts.
  • By Vademecum training results: 4 training modules were developed for different target groups (justice operators, social workers, minors and families, trainers and university staff), and performed in 36 events.
  • Project dissemination and awareness raising results: 8 mutual learning events were realized involving more than 200 participants, with interesting inputs on working methods with minors as in “SMARTFARMER Project: Serious Games”, IG Train and “My Community Passport (MyCompass)”; 6 Country workshops for Vademecum validation,6 Dissemination events and 1 International Conference involved more than 400 participants (Justice operators,Social workers and civil society representatives).

The project ended with a clear indication of how the key project output – the Vademecum – can be further improved and transferred at EU level, as a flexible and adaptable tool for the alternative punishment of minors involved in criminal justice proceedings.

The impact on the target groups was:

  • support minor offenders aiming at enhancing their social inclusion and job integration;
  • advanced capacity building of justice institutions as third sector organizations in the implementation of pathways for punishment alternative to the detention for minor offenders in the juvenile criminal justice system;
  • benefiting of a working method aligned in EU countries, focused on re-insertion and re-integration of minor offenders involved in the pilot test phase in Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, as the future users of the proposed methodology.