Assistance to Youth at Risk
Prison life in Sierra Leone offers very little hope for rehabilitation or reintegration back into society once a prison term has ended. According to the 2011 Human Rights Watch report, prisons in Sierra Leone face overcrowding and inadequate food as well as lack vital sanitation and health care. Inmates die from overcrowding, illness and violence.
All too often, minors are detained for petty crimes and end up falling prey to prison violence, giving them little hope for the future upon their release. We are giving new hope to young prisoners of Pademba Prison. Don Bosco Fambul in collaboration with Catholic Caritas and Sierra Leone Prisons Service, launched the Legal Support Project with the intention of helping the most disadvantaged inmates in Pademba Prison. The project provide legal representation for poor inmates who would otherwise be unable to access legal services to ensure their rights are upheld.
“Youth incarcerated in Sierra Leone must see hope for the future if we expect to deter them from crime and other dangerous behavior,” – Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions. “Our goal is for youth to use their time in prison constructively and through counseling, begin to address what brought them to the prison in order to prevent their return.”
- Freeing children and youths from the central prison in Freetown is considered first priority (high risk cases)
- Ensuring primary basic needs, like food, access to clean water, medical assistance, care, legal advice, individual talks, stress therapy, etc.
- Preparation and implementation of the minors‘ reintegration into families, neighbourhood, school and profession
- Awareness-raising among the public and the government by continuous national and international media relations as well as participating in the legislative procedures
PRIORITIES OF THE EDUCATIONAL ACTION
Promotion of the personal development
The development towards a stable and content personality is to be promoted (despite or due to the experienced adversities), the self-esteem to be enhanced, the personal strengths are to be built on, scopes for action to be expanded and own values to be developed.
Improving the ability to build relationships
Social competences, in particular communication and conflict skills are to be promoted and, thus, the ability to build relationships is to be improved.
When it comes to school support, the focus is on graduating. To this, we offer school lessons in the morning held by qualified teachers.
Introduction to a healthy lifestyle
Part of this is to impart knowledge on healthy nutrition, to encourage movement and sport, but also to discuss and work on self-destructive behaviour (drug problems, sexual behaviour)
Integration into vocational training or job
Together with the young people professional prospects are developed and it is tried to find an apprenticeship or an employment in order to help ensure a good and stable reintegration into society after the time in prison.
Ensuring the livelihood
By finding earning opportunities and providing accommodation, the material livelihood is to be ensured.