In March, Sociology and Law students from St Bart’s attended a criminology conference. Four guests came to the school and delivered a talk; Dave Wraight from West Berkshire Youth Offending Team, Noel Smith from Inside Times, Anita Dockley from The Howard League for Penal Reform and Esther Schutzer-Weissmann, a barrister specialising in major crime.
The day began with Dave Wraight explaining how Youth Offending Teams aim to identify potential criminals at a young age, and then prevent individuals from entering the adult criminal justice system. Some positive statistics from Dave’s talk showed how the number of youth arrests in the area had dramatically decreased since 2004.
Afterwards, Noel Smith, who had spent some years in the prison system, discussed how he got into crime, and how toughening his experience had been. It was interesting to hear this from somebody who had been on the inside, and his opinion of how prevention could be made more effective.
Following a short break, Anita Dockley talked about how the Howard League for Penal Reform had worked hard to improve conditions in prisons both nationally and internationally, as well as discussing how the NGO works with the government to legislate on relevant policy areas. In the afternoon Esther Schutzer-Weissmann explained the different roles she plays as a criminal barrister, and conducted an activity which helped everyone to understand some of the guidelines around sentencing for certain offences.
The day ended with a question and answer panel. The experience of this day was invaluable to the students, and would not have been able to go ahead without the hard work and dedication of Miss Miller, so on behalf of the students, thank you very much!