Former prisoners warn students about criminal gangs

Former prisoners warn students about criminal gangs

Former prisoners and drug dealers are giving talks in Sefton schools as part of a unique project to steer youngsters away from a life of crime.

The campaign sees individuals who were once on the wrong side of the law go into classrooms to offer a word of warning to pupils and give advice based on their own experiences.

The project has already been taken to Savio Salesian College, in Bootle, with other sessions scheduled to take place in Crosby High School and Holy Family High School, and plans to hold more due to popular demand.

It has been made possible thanks to a grant of £4,400 from the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund which is funded by Ørsted.

Organiser Stephen Duffy, who used to be a prison officer, explains how the talks work: “We want to focus on criminal exploitation because a lot of young people are being used by theses gangs to carry or transport drugs. There are stories all the time about young children being used in this way.

The talk have been fantastic and we’ve had some really good feedback. At the beginning I talk about my time working in a prison and how it’s not big or hard men – but actually most of them have hit hard times and are drug addicts.

We do a bit of role playing and the volunteers tell stories. The most important part of the day is when they talk about their own life experiences and how drugs affected their lives. There is then a question and answer session with the children in groups of around 30.”

Other schools and colleges in Sefton are being encouraged to get involved with the project.

For more information about the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund and how to apply, please click here