Reform Restore Respect

Reform Restore Respect at ARK William Parker Academy

Students at ARK William Parker Academy took part in a workshop run by Reform Restore Respect, a charity whose aim is to reduce the number of students engaging in behaviours that can lead to imprisonment.

After serving 8 years 6 months and 5 days of a 15 year sentence, Francis Ossei set up the charity in order to inform young people about his own life experiences in prison. He has demonstrated a commitment  to be ‘part of the solution’ for safer communities and joined hands with school teachers, social workers, youth offending teams, police officers, youth workers, prison officers and other organisations in the third sector. The charity aims to equip young people with tools that will enable them to make empowering choices hence deterring them from anti-social behaviour, peer pressure, gangs, low self-esteem and criminal activities.

The workshop encouraged students to set realistic and reachable goals, using examples and testimonies of reformed low risk ex-offenders and ex-gang members who have turned their lives around. Francis spoke openly to the students about his life, how he got involved with gangs and his time in prison; he also showed them prisoner’s clothing.  He talked to the boys about the potential and power of their own attitudes and actions, and how to avoid behaviours that could lead to crime.

PC John Brooker, from Kent Police, who is a trustee of the charity attended the workshop as an observer. He explained to Year 9 how he first met Francis, when he was a young man involved in crime, and how he has now changed.

The students showed great interest and inundated Francis with lots of questions after the session.

They stated “I really enjoyed it and now I know what choices to make and the consequences”

“I think the workshop was very helpful and this can help me in the future”

“I don’t ever want to get a criminal record as I want to get a good job.”

“I thought the workshop was very helpful and I would never do a crime.”