C5 Crime

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Aim: To consider the cause and effect of crime and how it is dealt with through the justice system. Taken from the BB Seniors Challenge Plus Pro Pack, Community Project C-5


Taster 1

Taster 2
• Internet access
• Recent copies of local newspapers
• Flip chart & pens

Taster 3
Sentencing labels to be positioned around room

Christian Faith 1
• Bibles
• Flip chart and pens

Christian Faith 2
Lost Son Questions” template
The Stand” by Hillsong United

Internet access


Taster 1 - Crime Stoppers

Aim: To understand what it is like to be a victim of or witness to crime.

Crime is something that could affect anyone at any time whether as a victim or a witness.

Did you know that:
• Around halt of 11-16 year olds are victims of crime every year.

• 11-16 year olds are most likely to be victims of:
— Being threatened (26%)
— Being bullied (23%)
— Having something other than a mobile phone stolen from them (15%)
— Having something which belongs to them destroyed or damaged on purpose (14%)
— Being physically attacked (13%)

• Young people are more likely to be victims of personal crime (theft, assault or robbery) than adults. Around one in three (33%) of 10-25 year aIds are victims of personal crime every year, compared with only 14% of 26-65’s.

• Young victims of theft (age 10-17) had the following things stolen from them:
— Money (28%)
— Mobile phone (25%)
— Stationery (20%)
— Bike (11%)

Think about:

• Has anyone in the group been a victim of crime? Can they share the experience?

• Has anyone in the group witnessed a crime? What did they do?

• What is it like going to court? Does anyone have any experiences?

• How might you feel if you go to court? e.g. seeing the accused, not understanding the questions, not being believed, speaking in front of strangers, not understanding what you are supposed to do at court, having your name in the newspaper, what will happen to the defendant.

• What should you do in the courtroom? e.g. listen carefully to the questions, answer the questions as clearly as you can, tell the truth!

• Why is it important that crime is reported?

• Why is it important that witnesses come forward?

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Be aware of those who may have been victims of or witnesses to crime.

Taster 2 - Make The Punishment Fit The Crime

Aim: To discuss how offenders are punished for what they have done

Every week the local and national newspapers focus on negative stories and a lot of the time this will relate to crime. For every crime there are offenders who may be caught and sentenced:

• List the punishments that a judge might give out to an offender, these may include: prison (custody), fines and community orders (including: Compulsory unpaid work, participation in any specified activities, programmes aimed at changing offending behaviour, prohibition from certain activities, curfew, exclusion from certain areas, mental health treatment, drug treatment and testing, alcohol treatment, supervision).

• Take a look at the local newspaper for reports of crimes in the local area and discuss the crime that was committed and the sentence given to the offender. Was this appropriate for the crime?

• Pass sentence on the following crimes:
— Someone who steals a mars bar
— Someone who steals a car
— A repeat offender shoplifter
— A murderer
— Someone who kills someone in sell defence
— Someone who kills a fleeing burglar

• Look at wv.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk (England & Wales),
www.scottishsentencingcommission.gov.uk (Scotland),
www.courtsni.gov.uk (Northern Ireland), or
www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/justice (Republic of Ireland) for further details on how sentencing applies to criminal offences and how sentencing is applied to offenders.

• Does this match your sentence?

All offenders will have a criminal record, regardless of their sentence.

Think about:
• How might a criminal record affect the offender even after they have completed their sentence?

• Could the offender have difficulties in finding employment depending on the extent of the record? Employment is the single most important factor in reducing re-offending, but estimates suggest it is at least eight times harder for a person with a criminal record to obtain employment. Evidence shows that the factor most likely to put an employer off is a criminal record.

Several weeks editions of the local newspaper may be required to obtain sufficient data.

Tips / Advice:
Contact could be made with the local Police or Court to ask if a police officer, judge or barrister could come along and talk to the group.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
• Be aware of those who may have been victims of crime or may have relatives and friends who may have been through the criminal system.

• Be prepared to challenge opinions in order to provoke discussion and a better understanding of the issues.

Taster 3 - Mitigating Circumstances

Aim: To consider whether circumstances affect our view of crime

This role play exercise will get you thinking about the complexities of sentencing:

• Assemble the group in the centre of the room.
• Display a variety of possible sentences that a court may impose on the walls, e.g. 3 months imprisonment, 6 months imprisonment, 12 months imprisonment, £100 fine, £200 fine, £500 fine, ASBO, 50 hours Community work, 100 hours community work, 200 hours community work, Alcohol or drug treatment, restorative justice order etc.

• Read out a statement, e.g. John has been found guilty of entering a house and stealing jewellery and cash valued at £200.”

• Invite the members of the group to stand by the suitable sentence for the crime. If there is a difference of opinion ask one of the young people why they have moved to a particular place.

Read out the additional information, and after each invite the participants to change their sentence.
Again ask for the reasons behind their decision:

1. John stole the goods to fund a drug habit
2. John is 18 years old
3. John has been in the care of Social Services since the age of 13 when his alcoholic parents threw him out
4. The house belonged to a 78 year old widow and the cash was her money for her bills
5. Following the crime the widow has lost her confidence and now wont leave her home
6. This is Johns fourth appearance in court in the last six months.

Following the activity discuss as a group how the additional information affected their view of the appropriate sentence.

mink about:
• Should the same crime always receive the same sentence?
• What is fair?
• Why are Judges allowed some discretion with their sentencing?

Think about the crime scenario that you are using, as a different scenario may be more appropriate.

Tips / Advice:
The purpose of the taster is not to be judgemental. but for the young people to start to discuss the issues that arise. There are often no clear cut answers and factors such as personal knowledge of a victim may influence the discussion.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Be aware of those who may have been victims of crime.

Christian Faith 1 - The Whole Truth

Aim: To discuss whether lying can be justified

Ask everyone to think of two facts and one lie about themselves. Get everyone in the group to share their statements. Guess each member’s untrue statement.

Read Exodus 20:16. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour”. Courts around the - world take a very serious view of witnesses who do not tell the truth; in the United Kingdon . the penalties for lying in the witness box are severe.

Think about:
• Why are the penalties for giving false evidence so severe?

Read Matthew 28:1-15. On the flip chart write down all the reasons you can think of for the chief priests to invent the story, e.g. they did not want to tell Pilate that the security arrangements had been a waste of time, they did not want people believing that Jesus was alive, they did not want riots to start in case the Roman soldiers took action, they could not face the fact that they had killed Gods Messiah.

Think about:
• Do any of these reasons justify the actions which the chief priests took?

Read Matthew 26:69-75.

Think about:
• Why did Peter struggle to be a good witness?
• Who witnessed accurately to Jesus’ resurrection? e.g. Mary Magdalene

How are you a good witness to yourself, your family, and to Jesus?

Pray that you will be prepared to stand up as a witness to Jesus.

Christian Faith 2 - Grace and Justice

Criminal Justice demands that if a person commits a crime, it is just to punish them. The only question here is guilt or innocence. The guilty get punished; the innocent go free. That’s the justice of retribution.

Think about:
• Is there a limit to forgiveness?
• Can a murderer be forgiven just like someone who lies?
• Is it fair that Jesus forgives our sins?

Read Romans 3:21-26. This passage states that all have sinned and fallen short of Gods standard. No one can stand and say that they have not done anything wrong. We might think that we’re not as bad as someone else, but Jesus taught that actually even when we think about committing a sin in our hearts it is as if we had actually done it! That’s a high standard. Justice demands that when something is done wrong there is retribution and a price is paid. Consequently we all deserve to be punished for what we’ve done. If a judge said to a murderer “I forgive you” and let a person go, there would not be any justice, as a price would not have been paid. God has a complicated balancing act, because he is full of both justice and mercy. Therefore God demands that a price has to be paid but also longs to be in relationship with us. Jesus died to pay that price and bring us back to God.

Think about:
• Why did Jesus have to die?
• Is sin really a problem?

When we do wrong we build up a wall between Jesus who has done no wrong and our own stained lives.

Read Luke 15:11-24 the story of the Lost Son. Split into three groups and look at the questions on the Lost Son Questions” template.

Think about:
• Why did the son leave?
• What made him return to his Father?
• Have you ever faced disappointments?
• How does the father teach us what Jesus is like?

Luke 15 contains three stories about how far that God will go for you. In the story the younger son thought he would be better off going down his own road, and we can be the same with our lives. However he had to swallow his pride, show humility, accept that he had messed things up and go home to his dad. He expected consequences (15:21), but got love. In the story the father doesn't stop the son, and so God won’t stop you from going your own way. But God is about grace, and so when you return God’s arms are always open (15:22).

The older son is perhaps the most interesting character, Jesus told the story to a group of people who were questioning why Jesus was hanging out with sinners. Why was a man who claimed to be God, spending times with those who had ignored him, and ignore those who had spent their whole lives following God? They felt unfairly treated. The older son didn’t understand that we had all fallen short of God’s standard. In the story the Father recognised that we are all equally guilty. The cross is all about a totally loving God coming to earth, in order to bring all humanity back into relationship with him. On the cross Jesus died for our sins, took them upon himself, when we ought to have paid the price.

Play The Stand” by Hillsong United:
• How does it make you feel to believe that Jesus was willing to suffer to save you ?

Tips / Advice:
You might like to show a depiction of the Easter story.

Project - The Justice System

Aim: To find out how the justice system works

Project Description:
Arrange a visit to a Magistrates’ Court (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland); or a District / Justice of the Peace Court (in Scotland): or a District Court (in Republic of Ireland) and listen to a case being heard. If not allowed inside the courtroom whilst a case is in progress, ask if it would be possible to make a visit to see a courtroom and talk to the clerk of the court. Find out what their job involves.

Now you have seen the real thing, it is time to host your own mock trial:

• Invent a suitable offence for which one member of the group is to be accused.
• The key roles will be the defendant, defence and prosecuting counsel and a judge. Whether you have a jury and how many members will depend on the size of your group. Either party may call witnesses, who do not have to be part of the group, e.g. they could be leaders or church members.
• After the charge has been read and the defendant has entered a plea. The prosecuting counsel opens the case. At the conclusion, the judge will sum up and the jury will give a verdict.
• Allow some time beforehand for the defendant to come up with a reasonable explanation and for any witness to be prepared.
• The trial could be spread over two or more weeks. The preparation in the first week, the prosecution and defence in the second week and the summing up and verdict in the final week.

Excellent material entitled Running a Mock Trial” is available from the Citizenship Foundation at www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uWmain/resource.php?slOO. This includes background stories, procedure guide, guidance notes for each role, sentencing and a case.

Tips / Advice:
• Those being involved in the trial can get some advice on their roles from http://direcLgov.uWeft’CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw, which includes videos and information on court procedures.
• Her Majesty’s Court Service www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk
• Scottish Courts www.scotcourts.gov.uk
• Northern Ireland Court Service www.courtsni.gov.uk
• Republic of Ireland www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/justice/courts-system

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Be aware of those who may have been victims of crime or may have relatives and friends who may have been through the criminal system.

For full details see the BB Seniors Challenge Plus Pro Pack, Community Project C5


  • challenge Plus
  • crime
  • justice
  • Project
  • seniors

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