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Law Enforcers at The Academy

LAW enforcers will descend on Stranraer Academy this week in a drive to divert youngsters away from a life of crime.

As part of a Scottish Prison Service scheme entitled "Prison! Me? No Way!", third-year pupils will discover the harsh consequences of a criminal life-style through a series of workshops.

Officials from the prison service along with the police, fire, ambulance and Procurator Fiscal's office will stage an accident scene where a girl has to be rescued from a car which her boyfriend took without the owner's consent. The driver will be found to have taken an Ecstasy pill before driving.

As in real life, those involved in the accident will be arrested by police before appearing in front of the Procurator Fiscal. The offenders will then be sentenced to imprisonment. To add to the reality of the situation a mobile prison cell and video of a real-life prisoner who explains the effects of a life-term in prison will be used.

Co-ordinating the project are prison officers Brian Alison and Jim Kirkwood from HMP and YOI Dumfries. Mr Alison explained:

"There are a number of pressures on young people today such as drugs, vandalism and so on.

"Life is all about making the right decisions and we hope that the scheme will emphasise to the younger generation the consequences of making the wrong decisions".

The scheme was initiated by prison officers at HMP Hull in 1993 and has since become one of the most innovative crime prevention and educational aids ever. The idea is to teach what they call "anti-crime thoughts" by stimulating the mind, showing the effects of crime on the wider community, demonstrating how the law protects and punishes and dispel any myths surrounding imprisonment.

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