Shabana Butt is a first year Criminal Justice with Offender Management student at Staffordshire University and is interested in working with young offenders when she graduates. In order to prepare for her second year research project, Shabana visited the Stoke-on-Trent Youth Offending Services and she shares how informative the visit was.
My name is Shabana, and I have just completed my first year on the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management course. To prepare for my second year I decided to make an early start on my research project, which I need to do in semester one in September. I had to choose a topic connected to criminal justice and undertake some research to write the research project. I am interested in working with young offenders, so I went to visit Liberty House, Marsden St, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, which is the Youth Offending Services local office. Fortunately, I was offered a warm welcome and promised a meeting with Rob Morray who is one of the managers of the Stoke on Trent Service.
I was a bit nervous, so I asked my academic mentor, Louis Martin, to come along with me for some support and to take notes for me during the meeting. I met with Rob and he explained how youth services are delivered in Stoke on Trent. Rob told me the history of how the youth service developed in Stoke and some of the interventions provided for young people who had been referred by the police, social services, and the Court. The team even visited young people in YOI (Young Offender Institution) Werrington. Rob explained how important it was that young people are diverted away from criminal behaviour and substance misuse. He was very experienced and saw the benefits of children being treated like children and not stereotyped as deviant or simply criminals. The team works with young people and takes them out on outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and potholing. Rob emphasised the importance of sports and healthy activities to distract the young people from gangs and getting involved in dealing controlled substances and county lines.
I spoke to Dianne and Keith who were members of the Youth Offending Team and were currently working as court officers. Their main roles included: helping young people at the police station if they were arrested, writing reports, and supporting young people and their families at court, supervising young people serving a community sentence and visiting young people if they are sentenced to custody.
Dianne and Keith talked about their experiences working in YOIs and going to Court for the Youth Offending Service. The team were very experienced and explained the process where their aim was to keep children out of the criminal justice system. The team at Stoke are very caring and passionate about their job and the service they provide. I would like to use the knowledge provided by my course at Staffordshire University to work with children and young people in Stoke on Trent after I graduate. I am really pleased that I had the courage to walk into Liberty House and ask for some information. I think many students will be surprised how helpful professionals who work in the criminal justice sector can be in sharing information about their roles and what they do. For readers who are interested in this area of criminal justice here are some links I have been using to find out more information about Youth Justice: