YiP Youth Lab: everyone deserves a second chance

The Youth Lab of Young in Prison (YiP) is a select group of youth who use their past experience in youth detention to improve the juvenile justice sector. Through creative and expressive workshops, they engage in meaningful exchange with prosecutors, prison staff, lawyers and parole officers. The YiP Youth Lab is active in Kenya, Malawi and the Netherlands.

Image: ©YiP
YiP COPOSO workshop, 2019

Serious participation: the world through youth’s eyes

Every child and young person has the right to be listened to, and taken seriously. Young in Prison collaborates with professionals in forensic youth care to design youth-friendly ways for participation in their treatment and all phases of their trial.

Contact between professionals and young detainees often leaves little space for meaningful exchange or reflection. This is despite good intentions and personal desires, but due to systemic design of contact between conviction and release. The YiP Youth Lab allows for a more open and reflective way of communicating to restore that relationship. YiP aims to ensure that listening to youth’s voices is not a mere tokenism, but a serious and legitimate instrument for change.

Yip Youth Lab programmes

The topics and depth of a YiP Youth Lab are tailored to needs and urgencies in the sector, ranging from pragmatic issues (improving communication skills with youth) to more systemic matters (to re-imagine the way punishing youth helps society). Yip Youth Lab programmes are developed in collaboration between professionals, YiP workshop facilitators and youth.

Different shapes in different places

The YiP Youth Lab is no static format, but takes different shapes in different places. Labs can be single events - or a much longer pathway of linked sessions with a range of creative methods. Labs are sometimes assignments from institutions - or can be initiated by Young in Prison or youth themselves. The YiP Youth Lab can focus on transfer of knowledge and exchange, but also campaigns for issues that matter to youth in detention.

About Young in Prison

Youngsters live in detention centers around the world. Wrong turns, friends or decisions led them to these places. Young in Prison believes that everyone deserves a second - or third - chance to turnaround their lives and contribute positively to society.

As part of the YiP COPOSO methodology (which stands for Contributing Positively to Society), young people work on personal development through arts and sports workshops.

YiP was founded in South Africa in 2002 and the YiP International Network followed with activities in countries such as Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Afghanistan, Morocco and the Netherlands.

Watch the virtual forum on YouTube

Do you want to hear more stories from youth in Africa and the Middle-East? The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised the virtual forum Youth at Heart. Here young people from the Middle East and Africa discussed their experiences and thoughts about education, work and participation.

All sessions of the Youth at Heart virtual forum that was broadcasted on 2 November 2020, can be watched on our YouTube channel: Livestream 4 studio's on YouTube