Ms Borrill goes to prisonNews ‐ 4 Mar 2020
“How does it feel to be sentenced to 5 years in prison?
What is it really like inside a prison cell?”
Students at The Petchey Academy got to find out the answers to these questions, meet a serving prisoner and step inside a prison cell this week as part of the academy’s highly topical Crime & Safety Days.
Delivered by staff and volunteers from the charity Prison! Me! No Way!, the academy’s Crime & Safety Days addressed the harsh realities of knife crime, county lines, arson and prison life through a day of impactful, candid and interactive workshops. By far the most popular session of the day was Choices in which students got to meet a serving prisoner and a former prisoner to hear about the choices they made that led them to end up in prison. Originally from Hackney and East London, and extremely young themselves when sentenced, “Michael” and “Amy” discussed openly and frankly the circumstances surrounding their sentence and the impact that going to prison has had on their lives and their families and the consequences for their future.
Charity patrons actor Stephen Hagan, and his wife, comedian Wendy Wasson also joined in the students for the day, stepping inside the prison cell themselves and even having a school lunch.
“The great thing about PMNW is that it doesn’t preach to young adults or teach them like kids. It just gives them facts about all aspects of growing up and puts them in a far better position to make the right choices in life. It also helps to open their eyes to what is going on around them.”
At the end of the second day we also hosted a parents’ information meeting on County Lines in conjunction with the Safer Schools Team from the Metropolitan Police.
Students at the academy thoroughly enjoyed the day and impressed the visitors from Prison! Me! No Way! with their keen interest in all of these important issues and relevant questions.
“I enjoyed hearing from Amy. Her story was inspirational, sad, funny, heartbreaking and joyful.”
“I learnt that small choices can affect your life forever.”
“After the workshops I learnt how important it is to make the right choices and not to follow others who you know are a bad influence on you.” Year 9 students.
Other topics addressed in the Crime & Safety Days were:
- FIRE - facilitated by London Fire and Rescue covering topics such as fire/water safety and arson.
- SCO19 - also a favourite with the students, this session is facilitated by the Metropolitan police firearms team and covers the carrying of weapons (knives/guns/any sharp implement) and the consequences. Students were extremely engaged in this session and ask excellent questions about what happens when SCO19 are engaged in an incident where weapons are used.
- PRISON LIFE – run by former prison staff, this session discusses perceptions of prison then delivers the harsh facts through a visit to the mobile prison cell.
- COUNTY LINES – addresses the what, the how and the who is at risk and how to stay alert to the dangers
- KNIFE CRIME – what are the laws around carrying knives the devastating damage they can do