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In the awareness that people who commit crimes and end up in prison are often the victims of distributive injustice in a number of forms, the Pope John XXIII Community started to visit young offenders’ institutions, offering to welcome into a family those who could benefit from alternative measures. Shortly after that, the first young offenders began being welcomed into family homes.

The Justice for Children Service started life in 1996 at a time when there was talk in Italy of closing young offenders’ institutions, answering the call to “go and seek out the least in the places where they live rather than sitting back and waiting for them to come to us".


  • Entertainment and recreational and socialising activities with young people, prison officers and educators in young offenders’ institutions in Italy (Bari, Lecce, Acireale, Bologna, Turin) and in the mission lands where the Community has a presence.
  • Welcoming young detainees into Pope John XXIII Community establishments providing alternative solutions to detention. Attempting to heal the relationship with their family of origin, working in partnership with such local bodies as social services, young people’s  legal aid centres, etc.
  • Being present in young offenders’ institutions
  • Meetings with families, magistrates in juvenile courts and other people involved in that legal system.
  • Camps for the excluded.


  • Raise awareness of the life in young offenders’ institutions, reflecting on the problem of juvenile delinquency with meetings and testimonies.
  • Monitor the welcoming resources available in local areas
  • Get involved in at-risk neighbourhoods, making it possible to establish good relations with young people in seriously disadvantaged situations, building stable, lasting relationships with them.
  • Partnerships with the Ministry of Social Policy working on draft bills on juvenile legal proceedings.

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