On Wednesday 4 of February, HMP Channings Wood will play host to a hard- hitting performance about Restorative Justice devised and performed by A Level students from Blundell’s School, Tiverton. Restorative Justice creates opportunities for people affected by crime, conflict, anti-social behaviour or the harmful actions of others to come together with the person responsible in order to have their say, to get answers to their questions and to explain how the incident affected them. The process gives those who accept responsibility for the harm they have caused an insight into the real impact that their actions have had and gives them an opportunity to make amends for what they have done. The process aims to help everyone move forward.

The performance, called "Crying For You", follows the story of 14 year old Jacob White who is murdered in a London park by Michael Stevens, a boy from a rival school. Jacob's grieving father Graham is given the opportunity to meet his son's murderer in prison to explain the impact that the event has had on his life. The meeting, facilitated by Restorative Justice practitioner Simon Hughes, shows the dramatic moment when these three men come face to face.

The three Blundell’s students who wrote and acted in the play – Cameron Falinski, Luke Ricketts and Rory Thomas – spent many hours researching the subject, looking at past cases and interviewing a prisoner at HMP Channings Wood. The school’s Artistic Director of Drama James Rochfort said ‘Drama should be engaging and entertaining. But sometimes it should have the capability to actually change people’s lives for the better. These young actors have an opportunity to really make the prisoners reflect on their own situation and genuinely affect them in a positive way. We as a school feel privileged and proud to be taking part in this incredibly exciting performance’.

The performance will be shown to prisoners who are currently serving their sentences on The Recovery Community at HMP Channings Wood. The Recovery Community, managed by EDP Drug and Alcohol Services works with prisoners to tackle drug and alcohol misuse issues. Following the morning’s performance the prisoners will have an opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Restorative Justice partnership project Make Amends from Torbay. Make Amends is a project run by Torbay Council which works to bring victims and offenders together to repair the harm caused by crime, conflict and anti-social behaviour. The workshop will explore the harm that is caused when a crime is committed and the impact that it has on the victim, their friends and family and the community. The workshop will also give prisoners an opportunity to explore their own offending and consider what they can do to make amends.

Offender Management Unit Governor Gary Pavey from HMP Channings Wood said ‘This is such an important opportunity for our prisoners as it brings to life the real impact that crime has on victims. Our prisoners do not always reflect on the harm that they have caused and seeing it performed on the stage will, for many, be an eye opening experience. We are also delighted that Make Amends are able to support the project, providing a valuable reflective experience for those who will watch the performance. We hope that some of the prisoners involved in the event will consider taking part in a Restorative Justice conference with Make Amends following the event’.

For more information on this project please can contact OMU Governor Gary Pavey on 01803 814849

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