I am waiting here in the coldness of my prison cell.
It is dark, resembling my lost soul.
Yet, a small window offers hope for life outside.
What awaits me?
Is it a closed chapter? I long for it, to work, to live, to raise a family.
To love, one day!
The same room protects me from dope, from stealing, from streets and from gangs.
I am twenty two and unemployed.
One day, I hope I get a job.
Yes, I must return.
To the other life.
Jonas (fictitious name) is twenty two and has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for committing the crime of theft. This is not Jonas s’ first time in custody, in fact he has been imprisoned for more than three times, in most of the cases for breaching the conditions from the Courts of Justice.
At the age of eighteen Jonas wanted to work as his family could no longer support him. With a low level of education and no adequate skills, finding a job was a hard task and with no results. One fine day, Jonas met a group of young people who introduced him to another way of sustaining himself. That was crime.
Locked, in the lonely community of prison, Jonas still dreams of finding a job one day. It is not uncommon in prison to come across a group of young people all idle and waiting for time to pass. These youths could have contributed in society but something went wrong, very wrong and crime has become a means for their living. Unemployment is one of the many factors leading to criminal activity whilst employment and work keep young people busy and open up for further development.
Lack of employment amongst youths is more serious as it adds to more risks. This puts young adults into a vulnerable position opening the risk of drug abuse, crime, involvement into gangs and even recruiting into terrorists groups.
The economic and financial crises have made it harder for youths to enter in the labor market. A number of unemployed young men and women have increased in this financial turmoil.
Young women have more difficulty in finding jobs. Those with low levels of education and lack of opportunities in the labor market suffer more as they resort to illegal actions as a means of survival. Theft and prostitution are the most sources which provide money for a satisfactory standard of living. Getting involved in prostitution may be dangerous for young women; they may end up being violated by their clients and beaten up by their pimps if they do not provide them with enough means from their work. Another risk is that of being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases at an earlier age.
Sooner or later, these illegal actions will bring them face to face with the law and if incarcerated it will be very difficult for them to get employed due to their criminal records.
This should not be as youths are the driving force of economic development and neglecting this potential will undermine social stability and waste a lot of money. It can also mean a lost generation as many young people remain out of the labor market. Unemployment may have considerable long term negative impacts on young people.
It not only discourages young people but it incapacitates the State in any given country. The State fails to receive contributions for security system and also society loses its investment in education.
Youth employment should be on top of the agenda in every State especially those who fall below the margin line and with no skills. Young people should never ever be involved in crime in the first place!