Earlier this year we took a group of 18 boys, from age 16 and over to the Marngoneet Correctional Centre.

The main aim of the venture was to show the boys the consequences of doing the wrong thing and to show them how the prisoners live day to day.

Our visit began with full body searches with metal detection devices before we could enter the prison. The Correctional Officer, Elisa Hare-Zen and her colleague explained the prison briefly, including security devices, the prisoners’ behaviour and issues they are confronted with from time to time.

We then split up into two groups and had the opportunity to communicate with the prisoners.

Their offences included, murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, reckless driving, burglary and manslaughter.

The prisoners were brutally honest when discussing their personal regrets, and how their lack of accountability put them inside.

The boys were encouraged to ask any questions and they certainly made the most of it.

The prisoners talked about drug use, alcohol abuse and the one punch offence which is highly dangerous. They explained to the boys the importance of listening to their parents, and how to avoid getting into trouble. They also encouraged the boys to look out for one another and to be respectful to themselves and their mates.

I believe this was an extremely worthwhile experience and would love for the club to have another visit to the prison and perhaps take some of the girls next time.

A special thanks goes out to Elisa who was so obliging and helpful with our visit.

Please read below some feedback from the boys regarding their experience during the visit.

Scott Smith.

Paddy Kelly The prison experience was an involvement that has allowed me to see the importance of life choices. It also showed me how my choices and actions influence people. At the prison we talked to the inmates about prison life and what goes on and we also talked about how mentally their choices have effected them. It was a good experience that I would recommend to anyone.

Angus Humphrey As I entered the prison, I had no idea what to expect or what I was about to do. After going through a number of security checks, we had a brief discussion with two of the prison guards that work there. Once that was done, we talked to prisoners who were there for different reasons. These prisoners told us about their lives before jail and that split decision that they all made which led to them being in there. It was a real eye opener for me and all of the others that were involved in the day.

Will Devine The Prisoners talked to us about how important it is to make good decisions as a young male so it doesn’t affect the rest of our lives. It was an experience all the players got a lot out of and will carry with them the rest of our lives. Thanks to Barwon Prison guards for providing us with the opportunity.

Mathew Garvey The prison experience can be described as a huge eye opener. It allowed us to get a firsthand experience on how the choices made in one’s early life can eventually lead to prison. During the experience we were allowed to ask the prisoners questions that gave us a greater understanding and a better knowledge, they were very informative and connected with all the boys. The aim of the prisoners in this session was not to intimidate but to guide everyone in the right direction. Anyone who has the opportunity to do this experience should do it!