Sheffield primary pupils are set to find themselves behind bars – as part of a new programme designed to teach youngsters about crime and its consequences.
A mobile cell is to be taken around schools with nine to 11-year-olds then shut inside, giving them a brief taste of prison life.
The HMP NOT-4-Me project is targeted at Year 5 and 6 pupils because 10 is the current age of criminal responsibility.
It is being brought to city schools by former policeman Mick Amos, aged 33, who said the days were about educating children about their criminal responsibilities.
“We’re really pleased to be launching HMP-NOT-4-Me in Sheffield. Feedback about the days which have already been carried out has been superb,” he said.
“The pupils get a real life insight into what it is like to be a prisoner for the day, wearing prison uniforms, learning about drugs, alcohol and crime and its negative consequences.
“The mobile prison cell that is brought to school is a real eye opener for the children. When they are sitting in this confined space and told this is their bedroom, bathroom and living room for between 15 to 23 hours a day, it really hits home.”
Mick said the days were designed to leave lasting impressions in the youngsters’ minds.
“Crime touches so many lives. That’s why we want to do everything we can to educate children and prove that early intervention and understanding of crime is really important,” he said.
Mick said many pupils were surprised and shocked to discover that they could be arrested and detained for their actions at the age of only ten.
“Under 18s commit a quarter of all crimes in the UK. It is important that the children aged 10 and above understand what consequences their actions can have and that they are on the right path from a young age.”