Hatfield children take a look inside a prison cell as part of crime awareness day
PUBLISHED: 12:36 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:42 30 May 2019
Children at three Hatfield schools explored a prison cell as part of an anti-crime awareness day.
Oak View Primary and Nursery School, Howe Dell Primary School and Hatfield Community Free School pupils organised the day in conjunction with the anti-crime charity Prison! Me! No Way! (PMNW).
The event, which took place at Howe Dell, was aimed at informing Year 5 and Year 6 pupils on the causes, consequences and penalties of crime.
Headteachers from the three schools organised the day in response to concerns that children are susceptible to gangs and unsafe behaviour outside of school in the area.
"This isn't because our schools have more issues than other schools, it is simply a chance to redress some of the glamour and impact of some older peers to show there is a better way and to encourage dialogue around keeping safe," Howe Dell head Debra Massey told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
PMNW brought reformed offender Anthony Powell, who spent 21 years and six months in prison, in to talk to pupils about the impact of his sentence on himself and the impact of crime on others.
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"The response has been overwhelmingly positive and very powerful. You could have heard a pin drop when Anthony was speaking and the questions were really intuitive and showed how intently the children were listening," Ms Massey said.
Anthony also explained how he has managed to move away from crime, which really inspired the pupils.
"I loved that you always need to think about the path that you have chosen," said Howe Dell Year 6 pupil Drin.
"Also, if you have picked the wrong path you need self belief and a phenomenal quantity of courage to get back up and try and believe in yourself.
"You can have a second chance to live with success and Anthony has inspired me to never give up in life."
Children also met with retired prison officers Neil McCunnell and Ben Thorpe, and explored a mobile prison cell.
"Having a real prison van in our school grounds and even going in the van has changed my perspective of the word prison," said fellow Year 6 student Alfie.
PMNW is a not-for-profit charity aimed at raising awareness among young people about the causes, consequences and penalties of crime.