An initiative commissioned by Erewash Borough Council aims to deter school pupils from committing crimes.

The council’s Community Safety Partnership has teamed up with educational charity ‘Prison Me! No Way!’ to raise awareness among young people about the causes, consequences and penalties of crime.

The scheme is being run in all secondary schools in Erewash and sees female prisoners, some currently serving hefty sentences for murder and drugs charges, go into schools in the borough to tell their stories. The aim being to open pupils’ eyes about the situations they could find themselves in, the choices they make and the impact it could have on the rest of their lives. The charity is commissioned to run the sessions in schools to deter pupils away from crimes such as anti-social behaviour.

The sessions are led by a prison officer with 33 years’ experience from HMP Askham Grange in York, where the women are serving their sentences. Year nine pupils at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy recently got to hear about what led the three women to end up in jail when the charity visited the school. The women sat in amongst the class with the children and asked them to guess what crime they thought they had committed. One of the prisoners told the class: “I was fearless at the time and had no sense of consequences – I was just thinking of the moment. It has been a very hard, self-reflecting journey for me from the age of 17 to 30.”

Councillor Val Clare, Lead Member for Community Engagement at Erewash Borough Council, says:

“Prison Me! No Way! is an engaging and informative way of educating children about the impact of crime and what kind of behaviour is acceptable. The sessions have been held previously and have proved effective in getting the message across to school pupils and we are sure they will continue to do so.”

Nia Salt, Principal at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy, says:

“This was a great opportunity for our pupils to learn more about the impact of crime. We hope that this has encouraged our pupils to think about their choices and that the messages of the day will remain with them long into the future.”

More information can be found on the Prison! Me! No Way! website.