Teenagers challenged about choices in Crime Days sessions

Secondary school students will be asked to think about making the right choices next week as the next series of Crime Days run by the organisation Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey get underway with a large input from States of Jersey Police, HMP La Moye, Fire and Sea Rescue and the Ambulance Service.

The new Crime (Disorderly Conduct and Harassment) Jersey Law 2008 and the Confiscation of Alcohol Legislation will feature and be emphasised during the anti-social behaviour workshop which uses a specially built ˜Street Scene' complete with a corner shop, to allow role play between officers and students which revolves around underage drinking and the anti-social behaviour linked to it, and the consequences for all involved, from the shopkeeper who sells alcohol to underage young people, to the neighbour who tries to protect his young family from drunken youths, and of course...the impact on the young people themselves and their families.

The aim of Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey is to raise the awareness of young people in the Island about the causes, consequences and penalties of crime, by using a non-threatening and non-lecturing style of education.

They hope to dissuade young people away from a life of crime, by using a multi agency approach, which will give young people information enabling them to make informed life choices to help them grow into responsible citizens and hopefully reduce the devastating effects of criminal behaviour on society.

Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey have a very unique and innovative delivery style which ensures engagement with the students during extremely interactive workshops, and give students  hard hitting facts on the consequences of their actions should they make bad choices . Students spend their ˜Crime Day' rotating in their ˜prison wings' around workshops which address areas such as anti-social behaviour, alcohol, drugs and, drink driving  with the ultimate consequence being Prison Life and the impact that has on all concerned should wrong choices be made.
Making a special appearance at all of the ˜Crim

e Days' - where students are given a taste of prison life - will be specially trained Police dogs who work with States of Jersey Police officers PC Richard Blake and PC Dave Bisson to help detect drugs and criminals. The dogs and their handlers will be used in a variety of scenarios “ ˜chase and detain', drugs search etc.

The sessions will also include an input from Authorised Firearms Officers from the States of Jersey Police headed up by Sgt Dean Machin using the new locally produced Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey DVD entitled ˜Dangerous Games' which explains to students how officers only have a split second to decide whether a firearm they are confronted with is real or a replica and the potential danger of using BB guns irresponsibly.

Chairperson of Prison! Me! No Way! Lesley Harrison explained:
˜Whilst Jersey enjoys relatively low levels of crime and the majority of our young people are law-abiding and honest citizens, youth offending plays a significant part in analysis of crime patterns in Jersey and show a strong correlation between youth offending and overall crime.

Youth crime creates a very real blight of the lives of too many individuals and communities.  It represents a tragic waste and a lost opportunity to harness the skills and talents of many young people.

Youth crime is also extremely expensive “ more so in a very small community such as Jersey - there are costs borne by the police, social workers and youth court hearings in dealing with young offenders, there are also the costs of maintaining a prisoner in HMP La Moye along with the financial and personal costs experienced by those who are victims of youth crime.

As a community we need to understand and acknowledge some of the underlying causes of youth crime and the lack of opportunities for some young people to achieve their full potential.

Therefore it is vital we have cohesive joined-up strategies in place to deal with these elements - that includes reviewing and addressing the present legislation, looking to facilities to attract bored young people, adequate provision of support to families who struggle to deal with behavioural issues in the home and education on health, safety and choices and consequences of crime - for both parents and their children.

Between us we can tackle the waste of underachievement, isolation and exclusion that impacts on too many young people's lives.  Young people need to be able to make positive choices about their lives and a positive contribution to our society.

We believe that Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey alongside a variety of other preventative work with young people is playing its part in effecting behaviour change amongst up and coming generations as they enter these formative years.

This brings home the point that focussing energy and resources into tackling youth offending through early intervention has the potential to have a significant impact on the quality of life in our Island.' 

The Co-ordinator of Prison! Me! No Way!!! Jersey Police Constable Karen Houston said: ˜It costs a significant amount of taxpayers' money to maintain a prisoner inside Jersey's prison. We hope that the workshops we deliver will help youngsters to think differently about a life of crime. Prison is not only expensive to fund, it can be a lonely, frightening and isolating experience with harsh rules to follow. We hope that the students who complete our workshops think about the choices they have. If they choose not to offend, then that has a positive impact on the whole of our society.'

The school dates for the April 09 ˜Crime Days' at secondary schools are:

Monday 27th April “ Jersey College for Girls
Tuesday 28th April “ Victoria College for Boys
Wednesday 29th April “ Beaulieu Convent School
Thursday 30th April “ De La Salle College


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