Hard hitting drama project piloted in Merseyside
25 students and lecturers from Merseyside attended the
inaugural launch of:- 'Justice in a Day' at Liverpool Community College.
'Justice in a Day', which is supported by the ScottishPower Foundation,
is a transformative educational workshop for young people. It aims to deter
young people from committing a crime and teaches them about the devastating
effect it can have on them, their families, their friends and their community.
The interactive sessions explore the causes and consequences of becoming
involved in the criminal justice system through drama and take the high school
students to the Crown Court.
The project, which has now worked with over 3,500 young people in North Wales, began at the Clywd Theatr Cymru in Mold 5 years ago and has been so successful in Wales this year it is expanding to England for the first time. When 'Justice in a Day' began it focussed on peer pressure and underage drinking, however last year social media bullying was added reflecting current issues that affect young people.
This year, the workshop covers steroid abuse due to the growing epidemic of steroid abuse amongst young people in England and Wales. Last year, Police Raids recovered 248,000 doses of anabolic steroids in England and Wales while a 2013 Home Office survey reported that an estimated 17,000 people between the ages of 16 to 24 use anabolic steroids. The drama, performed by professional actors, is deliberately hard hitting and uncompromising in its approach giving students an opportunity to reflect upon the impact committing a crime can have. The project is designed to give young people the opportunity to get involved in a frank and honest discussion in a bid to deter them from committing a crime.
During the drama workshop the students follow a character called Connor. The students then watch Connor's life deteriorate as he commits a crime, is arrested and then imprisoned. The drama invites students to think about the consequences his crime has on his life; and the negative impact it has on his family, friends, community and victim. It aims to create a lasting impression on young people and encourage them to avoid criminal behaviour.
Justice in a Day costs £50 per participant, whereas a year spent in the Youth Offenders Institute costs around £55,000. Last year, over 87% of young people that attended the project in North Wales said they felt they had an increased knowledge of the dangers of drugs, while 61% said they would be less likely to commit a crime following the performance.
Elaine Bowker, ScottishPower Foundation Trustee and Principal of the City of Liverpool College said:- "We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to host the Justice in a Day pilot event in Merseyside and get involved with an initiative which successfully engages with young people across the UK. The project is a great example of how partnerships between the arts, educational institutions, and the private sector can make a real difference to local communities."
Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said:- "The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to improving the lives of local communities across the UK and highlighting the importance of citizenship and youth development to children and young people. We are delighted to sponsor a project like Justice in a Day which is engaging with students across North Wales and now Liverpool, providing a positive impact on the lives of the young people. It challenges students to think about real life situations and shows how destructive committing a crime can be."