Reform Restore Respect
Students took part in an anti-crime workshop run by the charity, Reform Restore Respect. The charity, which was set up and founded by ex-gang member Francis Ossei, aims to reduce the number of students engaging in behaviours that can lead to imprisonment.
The students listened attentively as Francis spoke openly about his life and how he got involved with gangs. He explained that he served 8 years, of a 15 year sentence, in prison and showed them items of prisoner’s clothing. He spoke about the harsh reality of prison; the problems linked to prison life and the impact of a criminal record on the future of young people. He went on to talk about his personal experience in prison; how education became important in his life and how this had been a motivating factor in turning his life around. He left prison with a Bachelor of Honours in Health and Social Care.
The students showed great interest in Francis’s life and were keen to find out the impact on his family; one student commented “I was surprised to find out how much this affected him.”
Another stated, “It was interesting to find out that he saw education as important.” The students reflected on the difficult issues that Francis experienced when they found out his son was born at the time of his trial. They were thoughtful when they realised he missed out on the first 8 years of his son’s life.
The workshop was aimed at educating the students with regards to environmental anti-social behaviour, focusing on social responsibilities; crime diversion; attitudes and consequential thinking, all of which are aimed at deterring young people at risk of offending or re-offending from entering the Criminal Justice System.