A young worker raking leaves in the Esplanade park.

Young offenders can compensate for misconduct with work

The City of Helsinki construction services provider Stara is conducting a two-year pilot to conciliate criminal misconduct by young people in which the City has suffered injury or damage and disputes involving young people and the City. So far 17 young people have completed a period of work to compensate for injury or damage caused by their acts. 

Conciliation coordinator Jaana Bergman has overseen the process to plan and to organize such compensatory work periods for young people at Stara. A work period is a fine opportunity for young people to compensate for injury or damage, according to Bergman. 

“It is likely that there will be more candidates for this process in the future, if information about the opportunity better reaches young people and their parents or guardians,” Bergman envisions. 

The objective of the process is that young people can thus avoid an entry into the criminal register.  In addition, the practice makes all young people equal in that conciliation is not dependent on the wealth of families when injury and damage can be compensated for with work. 

The length of compensatory work periods varies between one and five regular workdays. Young people in the process are assigned a supervisor, who guides, monitors and encourages the young people in their duties. 

Young people received well at workplaces and work sites

The first compensatory work periods were implemented at Stara in June 2018. Young people compensating for their misconduct have carried out various assignments in City green areas, for example, they have been raking, picking up twigs, planted and watered plants and cared for animals. 

Cooperation has been good between managers, supervisors and the young people. 

“The young people who took my survey on compensatory work periods reported that they had been received in a friendly manner at workplaces and work sites, the assignments were compatible with their age, and they were encouraged in their duties,” Bergman says. 

The pilot will close at the end of June, but Stara will continue to organize compensatory work periods for young people as part of normal Stara operations. Stara developed the idea for the pilot together with the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division and the City Executive Office’s unit responsible for conciliation and arbitration of crimes and disputes.

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