On Wednesday November 21st, 300 A level students from all over Essex attended a study day at Chelmsford Cathedral, entitled ‘Crime and Deviance.’ The event was organised by the Draper’s Academy and Ursuline high School. There were many guest speakers, the first was Gavin McKenna, who is an ex-gang member. He spoke about his troubled childhood, and how he had ended up being responsible for knife crime. A discussion took place about how much of this was his fault, his upbringing played a big part in the wrong decisions he made.

There was also a talk from Ian Bickers, former governor of Wandsworth Prison. His experiences gave the students much to think about when he said: ‘There are 92000 people in prison right now. Prisons are becoming overcrowded. In my opinion there should be more mental health institutions than prisons.’ A Draper’s Academy student, Sam Jones, gave a presentation on how the media influences our opinions of crime and criminals. He asked for comments from the audience, and a lively discussion took place.

The keynote speaker was Barbra Burton, who had served 6 months in prison for fraud. While there, she had the idea for her business, Behind Bras, which is an underwear company. Her message to the young people was to keep focused on their dreams and work hard to achieve it.