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Prison officers to stage presentations at Island schools 20 July 2007

PRISON officers at the Isle of Man Prison, Victoria Road, Douglas, have developed a presentation to deter young people from going to jail.

Supported by the UK’s Prison Me – No Way Trust, the Island’s role play was written by Dylan Christian and Tim Hewson following training sessions run by the charity.

Principal Officer Mike Speers explained:

‘We have piloted the ‘Me – No Way’ presentation at the Isle of Man College and we will be delivering it to Year 9 groups in St Ninian’s and Ballakermeen High Schools during the autumn term. The role play shows a young man, aged 17, going through the reception process. He starts out very cocky and slowly discovers what he can and can’t have in prison. It dispels the myth that the Isle of Man Prison is a so-called ‘easy jail’ and gives young people an idea what the implications really are. The play aims to make young people aware of the long term effects of having a prison sentence, such as the loss of future prospects, although it’s told in a humorous way. It’s light hearted and not meant to shock but with an underlying serious message.’

Isle of Man prison officers involved in the Prison Me – No Way Trust give up their own time to be involved in the presentations if they are not on duty. Eight officers have been trained by the trust and will continue to stage presentations in groups of three to each school, along with retired Acting Governor Tony Hawkes who hopes to continue his involvement despite his retirement.

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK commented:

‘I think it’s commendable that prison officers give up their own time to dissuade young people from activity that might result in them going to prison. The Prison Me - No Way Trust supports it and targets youngsters from age 13 upwards. If our officers can demystify prison and make an impact that changes the course of one young person’s life for the better then it will have succeeded.’

The ‘Me – No Way’ presentation will be staged at the first two secondary schools this year, with plans to take it to other secondary schools and year groups when possible.

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