Joseph speaks up for justice
01 November, 2019
A Westminster City School pupil has been talking to magistrates, judges and at the Houses of Parliament, to improve our criminal justice system for young people.
Two years ago, Joseph Sharkah was fortunate to meet with youth offending charity, Youth Ink, which helps young people in and around the justice system. Through this innovative organisation, Joseph now talks regularly to other young people about his own experiences and works with policy makers to improve criminal justice procedures for young people in the future.
By volunteering weekly with Youth Ink, Joseph discusses a range of issues with other young people, giving support and coaching individuals to make positive life choices. For this role, Joseph has received training from Youth Ink and it has helped him develop many transferable skills, including public speaking.
In addition, by working with policy makers to develop new guidelines regarding criminal justice and young people, Joseph is helping to shape and improve the UK’s criminal justice system. One example of his work looks at how to make life easier for young people in court, so they understand the processes taking place and are not overwhelmed by the complicated language of lawyers and judges.
As part of this policy-leading work, Joseph recently visited the Ministry of Justice to speak with magistrates and judges about topics related to the youth justice service. He later visited the Houses of Parliament, where he spoke further with the then Youth Justice Secretary, Edward Argar.
Joseph explained: “It was surreal going to the Houses of Parliament, as I never thought someone from my background would get to walk in there and talk about these issues. However, everyone was very friendly and very interested in what I had to say.”
Mr Peter Broughton, Headteacher at Westminster City School, said: “Like all at Westminster City, I am so impressed with Joseph’s hard work in this important area, and so proud of how he is contributing to a key policy debate. He is clearly embodying our key values of Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence, and proving himself to be the kind of good citizen that all our boys should aspire to be.”
Mifta Choudhury, CEO of Youth Ink, added: “Joseph is a bright young man with a brilliant future ahead of him. I’m proud of his work with Youth Ink and the new pathway that he has created for himself.”
Joseph, who joined Westminster City School in Year 7 and is now in Year 11, plans to study Psychology, Sociology, History and Economics next year. He is looking to undertake an apprenticeship in an area related to mental health, as he wishes to work in that career field.
For more information on Youth Ink, please visit their website at: www.youth-ink.org.uk/.