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New YAG hub volunteers; Sophie, Asia and Shannon whom are studying Criminology and Law at Hull College attended their first day with Prison Me No Way! (PMNW) at Scunthorpe Development Centre on Tuesday 11th October 2016. However, this was no ordinary day, this was a day spent with young people who have been expelled from school or becoming close to! 

Denise from Scunthorpe Youth Offending Service organised the day with PMNW Coordinator, Malc Parkes. Facilitators of the day were prepared for anything but remained focussed in their minds that these particular young people were already getting into mischief and needed PMNW help and quickly. 

As expected the young people arrived with negative attitudes, bravado and unengaged, however they turned up.  There were 50 young people from local Pupils Referral Units, schools and Youth Offending Service.

Emma Wray, Senior Management Team lead for the YAG attended with the new YAG volunteers and joined a group that were one of the most challenging.  Emma highlighted the day as follows: ‘we kicked off the day with the Gangs workshop facilitated by Graham Chapman. There was a little bit of defensiveness from the young people but Graham soon reminded them he wasn’t going to make them do anything they didn’t want to and it was their choice and he thundered on with the workshop, within a few minutes the young people were engaged and asking lots of questions, challenging Graham on certain matters but Graham listened, debated and talked with them. The young people showed respect to Graham and attended throughout the workshop.  We then moved onto the Street Scene, Ollie again joked with a few and answered anything they wanted to ask with understanding. Ollie though remained firm on the key learning messages whilst the young people had fun, laughed and engaged brilliantly. We then had a break before we then moved onto the Prison workshop where Rev spent time to learn a little about some of them and used his charm and wit to deal with any YP trying to ‘shock’ and soon had them fully focussed and again with full participation from all.

What was apparent as the day went on was these young people don’t want to go to prison, they don’t like what criminals do and empathised deeply about the victims often referring to themselves as a victim in that position where case studies were discussed.   After the Prison we moved onto Drugs where Pat again remained focussed and direct on the lesson and commanded the group, he reiterated that it was their choice to take drugs but this is the impact that drugs has on people so think about it before doing so. 

After lunch our group met the prisoner; he talked openly and honestly about his sentence and prison and how he doesn’t want any young person to go there.  The young people listened and asked sensible questions and were engaged and excellently behaved throughout.’

Emma added ‘I get to attend numerus days but this day really was about helping the most hardest to reach young people and the PMNW team did and I am confident of this based on my own observations of those young people.  I know they understood the clear messages being delivered and that most of them do care. Many of the young people thanked our team, smiled, respected and showed willingness to listen and learn.  I spoke to a couple of the young people who told me they really enjoyed the day and it made them think twice about their actions.  I can only hope the PMNW team saved 1 young person from making negative choices as they do deserve a good and happy life.

The YAG volunteers, well they had a fantastic day and were buzzing all day long telling me how so grateful they could be part of such a fantastic charity and were not fazed by anything about the day.  They too helped provide feedback on what clothing was right for PMNW facilitators but overall felt the day was organised and delivered perfectly.

Well done to all involved’  Emma Wray