We spoke to Anna-Christina Jones, a Senior Research Assistant, about the work they are doing.
At Manchester Metropolitan University, the youth justice collaboration set up under the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS) - GMYJUP - has been working with practitioners from the criminal justice system to pioneer participatory research with young people in the criminal justice system. The aim of this partnership is to be innovative and forward thinking – championing the bi-directional transfer of knowledge through linking practitioners and practice with academic research, while simultaneously allowing academic work to be guided by practice.
Participatory academic research
The focus of the MCYS research centre is “co-creation and working with young people”, and GMYJUP is taking the lead in developing novel ways of embedding participatory academic research within youth justice. Professor Hannah Smithson, Director of MCYS, explained that there has been a “shared will to work together” between practitioners, young people and the research unit. There is already a successful and strong practitioner collaboration between the 10 youth justice services in Greater Manchester. They are all working together as the Greater Manchester Youth Justice Services (GMYJS), and it was a natural progression for academics from the research Centre to join those services and work with them to support Greater Manchester to become a beacon region for excellence in youth justice.
Better engagement with young people
Their research has culminated in the hosting of learning events with practitioners, academics and policy makers, sharing best practice and collaborating on initiatives to improve work with young people in the criminal justice system. They also hold practitioner training and learning events. A key result of their work has been the development of a participatory youth practice (PYP) framework. Co-created with young people, the framework has developed youth-led, theoretically-framed principles that are to guide practitioners in the justice system on how to engage with young people and help support them effectively. The framework also includes an out-of-court framework and focussed problem solving with young people in the justice system. This framework has been piloted within the boroughs of Oldham and Tameside and is now being rolled out across the remaining regions in Greater Manchester.
If you want to find out more about Anna-Christina’s work, you can contact her via Anna.Jones@mmu.ac.uk
This case study was compiled and edited by Jaskirat Mann in 2018