Paul Nicholson-PMNW Crime Day Presenter
I joined the prison service in May 87 and was sent to HMP Wormwood Scrubs as my first posting working with lifers.
In April 89 I got a transfer to HMP Hull and started working with juveniles (14-17 year olds). Some of these young people were self-harming and I really wanted to understand why this was happening so frequently and what the prison service was doing to help.
It wasn’t until 2002 that I realised I could help young people and prevent them for turning to a life of crime at such a young age by volunteering for PMNW. This was the first time I volunteered for PMNW going into a school and engaging with young people and try to deter them from a life of crime and giving them an insight into prison life.
However in 2005 my world collapsed when my youngest daughter at 14 made some very bad choices and got involved with alcohol and drug misuse. Her life spiralled out of control and as her father I felt helpless.
Over the following years I really wanted to help and understand what she was going through and how she was feeling. An opportunity arose where I decided to take young people from schools and colleges to have a look around the prison and give them an insight in how prisoners live and how what effect it has on them. This also involved a chat to a prisoner where the young people could engage with him and ask lots of questions.
As I’ve found, young people are very vulnerable to this and lots of other dangers. Volunteering for PMNW has given me a voice to try and help young people and prevent them from making the same mistakes as my daughter. I am very passionate and determined to help prevent young people from making the same mistakes my daughter did and my aim is to give them a better understanding of the dangers and consequences of making the wrong choices.