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Justice in a Day 2018

Posted in: Articles, Features
Posted on 16th Mar 2018

This year represents the 20th anniversary of the Police and Communities Trust (PACT) which supports community initiatives that aim to encourage safer environments by addressing current issues. PACTs headline project, Justice in a Day, is back for its eighth year and is currently running workshops with schools across North Wales. In partnership with Theatr Clwyd, Justice in a Day has already engaged with over 5,000 young people between the ages of 12-14 and by the end of its eighth year this figure will be at almost 6,000.

The project aims to increase young people’s knowledge of the law and address the issues that are most currently faced by them. The workshop demonstrates the criminal justice system, and how it impacts young people as both offenders and victims, in order to educate them on the consequences of crime. The programme is run off school premises at a variety of venues across North Wales, in most cases the local court rooms, where pupils along with volunteering magistrates witness and take part in the interactive drama.

The realistic production allows the pupils to mirror some of the problems that they see in their own lives and consider this when faced with sentencing guidelines. As participants watch the scenes unfold, they are able to see, hear and judge the potential consequences of their or their peers’ actions, including an appearance in court, sentencing and imprisonment.

The focus of this year’s Justice in a Day is youth on youth assault, including the use of a knife, cyberbullying and substance misuse. The workshop follows a character called Connor starting from the moment he commits a crime, through to his trial, and then his imprisonment. The drama also charts the consequences for his family, friends and the victim which displays how one person’s actions can affect a large group of people, not just themselves. After watching Connor’s story, the issues, risks and costs of youth on youth assault are opened up for discussion and resolution by the students.

Justice in a Day allows police, Youth Justice Service, HM Courts, schools and other professionals to work together in an informal environment. The consequences of criminal and anti-social activities are highlighted by the event but also give the students a chance to address questions they may not have been able to ask otherwise. They can also physically see the impact and costs of criminal behaviour on the offender, victim, their families and the wider community in an informative and lively activity.

Recognised by the Howard League for Penal Reform at the Community Awards in 2015 for its impact on young people, 96% of young people who attended say that they were less likely to be involved in crime in the future as a result of Justice in a Day. The success of the sessions have led to the development of new initiatives Connor’s Time and Junior Justice, developed by Emyr John at Theatr Clwyd, which is aimed at primary school pupils improving the reach of the Justice in a Day initiative.

Dave Evans, PACT Project Manager said: “We are delighted to be able to deliver Justice in a Day to schools for an eighth consecutive year. Over this time Justice in a Day has become an integral part of the school curriculum and once again we find that demand from schools exceeds supply. None of this would be possible without the partnership work undertaken between PACT and our colleagues at Theatr Clwyd, and the fantastic financial support received from ScottishPower Foundation who, together with PACT, are our joint funders for Justice in a Day. Our trustees would like to thank Roy Jones MBE and Heather MacDonald from ScottishPower Foundation for their commitment to the programme over the past four years.”

If you would like to learn more about how PACT can have a positive impact on local community projects please visit the website or email enquiries@pactnorthwales.co.uk

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