Ever wondered what it would be like to go to prison?

Ever wondered what it would be like to go to prison?

As well as it being non-uniform day today, our year 9 students had a valuable insight into what it would be like to go to prison, the penalties and consequences that would affect them for the rest of their life and most importantly, how not to make the wrong choices by focusing on crime prevention.

Prison Me No Way is a national education programme, which been running in schools for over 25 years and is the first time it has been run at Cowley Academy after being popular at the other schools in our Trust.

They provided a full day of engaging workshops and activities, which are led by retired Prison Officers, Youth Engagement Officers, ex-offenders and volunteers from charities and other organisations. All of these people were able to pass on their first-hand experiences and real-life knowledge so students know exactly what it is like.

This day plays an important part in our school PSHE programme covering personal, social, health and economic issues to educate and inform students so they make the right choices and become responsible citizens.

The reason why we deliver the event for year 9 students is that children aged 13 to 14 are more vulnerable due to using social media, they start to become more independent and can be influenced by their peers, brands and money.

Workshops covered include a variety of current topics such as gangs and knife crime, drugs and county lines, alcohol awareness and domestic abuse. Understanding the early signs to look out for and the implications of their actions mean that students are better informed so they are not led down the wrong path or make bad decisions.

The Prison Me No Way roadshow includes bringing a realistic prison cell to the school, in a specially modified van that students can see the conditions that inmates in a shared cell have to live in. It was certainly eye-opening to see how small the bunk beds are and the lack of privacy with the toilet next to the table where you would be eating. The TV provided in the cell is not what you would have at home as it is very small and doesn’t have the choice of channels.

Throughout the day, students were able to ask thought provoking questions and were incredibly engaging.

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