During the school holidays students from 12JUS (Year 12 Justice and Peace) attended a formal evening to listen to guest speakers review, debate and analyse the prison system in New Zealand. The guest speakers were outstanding:
– Sir David Carruthers, former Chief District Court Judge and former chair of the Parole Board and the Police Complaints Authority.
– Sir Tā Mark Solomon, family violence advocate, kaiwhakahaere (chairperson) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for approximately 18 years (1998-2016).
– Dr Jarrod Gilbert, author of A History of Gangs in New Zealand and Lecturer at Canterbury University.
– Reon Nolan, former prisoner, current youth worker and local advocate for young people.
Here is a testimonial from Bowen Hodgson, student in 12JUS:
“I didn’t know what to except when I first arrived at the Cathedral. There were lots of people in suits and very formal clothing. I originally thought this was just for upper class people, politicians and business men. However, it surprised me when lots of younger people in their twenties and people in less formal clothing started arriving. It then hit me that this was an important event for a lot of people and it was an issue that needed resolving for people from all cultures and backgrounds. It was very interesting. I admired Reon Nolan the most as he spoke from the heart. He spoke less about the financial and political issues: instead he spoke more about the people and the prisoners and how we need to show them love and kindness which I understood. I felt like he was speaking for the people and to the people. And I really admired him for what he said. Overall the experience was very interesting and very informing about how we treat prisoners and need to show them love and kindness to get them back on their feet.”
On behalf of the students who attended, we would like to thank the Pathway Charitable Trust for hosting the event and Edmund Rice Justice for sponsoring us to attend. To learn more, visit the Pathway website or watch the video of the evening:
* Stephen Kennedy, Teacher of Justice and Peace