Working with the Justice System
Dave has been asked to go in to Prisons to talk to the inmates about the effects of crime on victims. As you can see from the list below he has been very busy.
Letter from his most recent talk.
Well I have just got back to my cell after you have just spoke to us. I would like to say how much I admire you for what you are doing. It really touched me today when you told us your’s and Adam’s story and I know that Adam will be very proud of how you are handling this very unfortunate situation and trying to bring a positive out of a bad situation, and just hearing you today has changed the way I think and look at situations. I would just like to say in all if there is anything I could so for you or Adam’s Charity just let me know and if it is possible for to to do it I will!
I would just like to say once again thank you and don’t stop what you are doing because I know you will help prevent something like this happening to someone else in the future. I really appreciated you speaking to us’.
Sept 2010 – Garth – Dave attended the Offenders presentation for the SORI course
Oct 2010 Lancaster Prison – presentation to group of 12 offenders on Home office course.
Feedback positive from Prison Chaplain
Letters received from 2 offenders
Nov 2010 met with Chaplain responsible for SORI course (Supporting Offenders through Restoration Inside)
November 2010 – Garth Dave delivered a Presentation to offenders on SORI course
December 2010 – Garth – Dave attended the Offenders presentation for SORI course
December 2010 – Dave did a presentation to the Darwen Licensees
January 2011 – am Dave did Presentation to Probation YOT
January 2011 – pm Dave did presentation to Lancaster Offenders on Home Office Course
January 2011 – Garth Dave attended offenders Presentation on SORI course
May 2011 – Garth Dave delivered a Presentation to offenders on SORI course
His work has been having quite an impact as you can see from the letters he has received from some of the men he has spoken to. This one is from an inmate of Garth Prison
I am writing this letter to thank you for having the courage and for being so brave in coming and sharing your loss with the group today. I am a very big and strong man, yet I know if I was in your shoes I would not have been able to be as strong as you. I am extremely sorry for the cards life has dealt you and your family and I cannot imagine how you and your family feel.
Even though you are not the victim of my crime I felt remorse for what had been done to you and now this experience on the SORI course has helped me more to think about my victims feelings.
I truly know that I do not want to create any more harm to anyone else ever again. I was shocked to hear firsthand from you that you wish to meet the boy who took your son away from you, so you can help him change his attitudes. I have so much respect for you for wanting to help him. By listening to you I know now that I shouldn’t dwell in the past and should look to the future. You have given me hope to change my own attitudes towards victims of crime, and by this helping me, hopefully never to create more victims again.
The two below were written by inmates from Lancaster Prison
Dear Mr Rogers
My name is A……… and I was among the inmates that attended your speech at Lancaster Castle Prison. I wanna first say sorry for your loss and how brave you are for talking about it to make some good come out of a bad situation. I am in prison for hitting a guy with a bottle while drunk. It made me think a lot after your speech what a fine line it is between assault and Manslaughter and destroying a lot of people’s lives as well as mine. As you have opened my eyes to, it only takes one hit to cause horrific damage to a beloved person. I want to thank you again for coming to see us at Lancaster castle.
Dear Mr Rogers
I am writing to say thank you for coming in to talk to the lads here at Lancaster Castle. I’m sure I speak for everyone in the group when I say that we really appreciate what you did, knowing that it must have been very difficult for you.
On a personal note, I must say that your talk has had a substantial impact on me.
I have been offending since I was 13 years old, and at that age I felt no guilt for what I was doing. I just did not think about the victims of the crimes I was committing.
Now, at the age of 34, I do think about the victims. I have obviously still committed crimes, but more out of desperation than just wanting money or enjoyment.
As I have said, I do now think about the victims of the crimes I commit, but it wasn’t until your talk that I thought about how that person may feel now.
The main thing for me though was thinking of how the victims not only may be feeling but how they may react to the crime, how their behaviour may change and how they may interact with family and friends.
I feel I have a new insight into how victims of crime may feel, and I owe that to you. I thank you for that and I hope I can use this new insight to better myself in the future.
Again, thank you for taking the time out to talk to us all.
Dave is very interested in the Restorative Justice process and has applied to be involved in it. Below is a report of a recent interview on Radio Lancashire.
The father of Adam Rogers who died after being struck by one punch in Blackburn town centre wants to come face-to-face with his son’s killer.
David Rogers says he would like to meet William Upton who is currently serving four years for his son’s manslaughter to help with his rehabilitation.
And he believes the meeting would have Adam’s blessing.
“I think he would be whole heartedly behind it so something positive can come out of all this,” explains David.
“He always looked for the best in people.
“I’m doing what I think Adam would have done because of the sort of person he was. He wouldn’t write someone off; he’d give them a second chance,” says David.
He says his family doesn’t hold any malice towards 17 year old William Upton from Rishton. “Of course we are angry, he behaved recklessly and aggressively, but we know he didn’t intend to kill Adam.
“The outcome is devastating but it can’t be changed and being bitter can ruin lives,” he says. “We would rather react positively and some good come out it.”
He is hoping Upton – who was 16 when he punched ‘peacemaker’ Adam for trying to diffuse a fight on 5 July 2009 – will become a better person by facing up to implications of his actions should he – and his probation team – agree to the meeting.
David says he is a believer in restorative justice. “I understand it has been a great success – particularly with minor crimes – as it comes as a major shock to some criminals when they come face-to-face with their victims and have to explain what they’ve done and why they have done it and what they’re going to do about it.
“An important part of a prison sentence should be an opportunity to make a difference to those people so when they come out they can be a positive influence on society and not a negative one,” he says.
“I think the restorative justice idea can play a part in that. I’ve always believed that is the right way to go – in principle – so this is an opportunity to put it into practise.”
David adds: “I don’t think people can begin to turn themselves around until they face up to what they have done.”
He recognises confronting Upton will be tough, not just for his family. “I don’t regard the meeting as a soft option for the offender as it makes them face the enormity of the consequences so it won’t be an easy option for him.”
The Rogers family are now waiting to hear if the meeting will get the go ahead as Upton – currently in detention in a young offenders institution – and the appropriate authorities must approve it first.
“It is just a possibility but I have made it known I would like it to happen,” says David.
In the meantime, Adam’s parents have launched an anti-violence campaign called Every Action Has Consequences which aims to change young people’s attitudes to violence and drink.
Adam’s mother Pat says: “We wanted to find something positive that could come from what was such an awful personal tragedy.”