CSOs may provide supervision for teenage offenders

CSOs may provide supervision for teenage offenders


What questions do we have about the initiative, and are CSOs ready for its introduction?




On 4 July, a legislative initiative was presented at the round table of the State Duma Committee on Youth Policy. According to the new initiative, teenagers who have broken the law can be put “under supervision” by mentors or volunteer groups. These are cases where the offender does not receive a prison sentence.


The initiative was announced by Artem Metelev, Chairman of the Youth Policy Committee. According to Metelev, the Association of Volunteer Centres already attracts difficult teenagers to its volunteering schemes with positive outcomes. The idea was proposed to be fixed as a legislative norm.


The Agency for Social Information (ASI) asked Yuri Belanovsky, the Head of the Danilovtsy volunteer group, what he thinks about the initiative.


Who will be responsible?


According to Belanovsky, the idea is not new. This initiative has been tested in both Europe and Russia. Its introduction has been discussed for a long time, arguing that it would help teenagers not to commit further offences and to involve them in a positive, charitable narrative. In addition, it could be used as a way of reconciling a teenager and the victim of their offence. Therefore the initiative is “positive and necessary”.


“Who is responsible for the reeducation of a teenager who has committed an offence? The court gave them a guilty verdict, they have nowhere to go. But we understand that this is just a teenager – how consciously could they approach this situation? They need some kind of adult involvement. Are parents responsible? Or the CSO?”, Belanovsky argues.


If the responsibility lies with the CSO, we must understand what powers and resources are necessary for this initiative.


What’s next?


Hypothetically, if a volunteer group coordinator is asked to take charge of a difficult teenager, out of the kindness of their heart they may agree, says Belanovsky. Then they will need to set goals, implement them and solve any problems that may arise, for example, with communication. Arrangements will also have to be made with other specialists, for example, psychologists. And all this, according to Belanovsky, will have only an indirect relation to the volunteering position that the person held before.


Some volunteers may say “I came here to help children in the hospital, not look after a difficult teenager”, but the rest of the volunteer community should also agree to become mentors.


“In truth, embedded within very straightforward volunteer work is a completely different task with its own result. Crossing these two processes and results is a complicated thing”, Yuri notes.


Mentoring in reality 


Often the idea of mentoring is from old Soviet films, says Belanovsky. A teenager is sent to live with a woodworker, and for some reason they instantly become friends. They spend a lot of time together, then have a heart-to-heart, and the teenager immediately becomes good.


“But this is just a film! In real life, this is a whole process in which a person must know the stages, goals, and challenges in advance. If they say they’ll deal with the children tomorrow, they may be dealt with, but I’m afraid the result will be disappointing”, he says.


Nevertheless, Belanovsky considers the idea viable, especially if such programmes are funded by the state.


Source: https://www.asi.org.ru/news/2022/07/05/podrostkov-sovershivshih-pravonarushenie-predlozhili-otdavat-pod-nadzor-nko/



Get involved

Share This