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									News release

Inside Justice Week
18-25 October 2008

      Date         03.10.08
      Reference    010CLOSECIRCLE/031008

                                  Derbyshire Youth Offending Service
                                           Close the Circle on Crime

As part of Inside Justice Week, Derbyshire Youth Offending Service is set to unveil a new seating haven at
the National Stone Centre, Middleton on Thursday 23 October at 1.00pm.

Over the last three years, the „Closing the Circle‟ project has seen young offenders build a semi-circle
seating and picnic wall as part of their reparation to the local community. The creation features relief carvings
depicting some of the prehistoric sea creatures that would have lived in the area some 320 million years ago.

The idea came from local artist and Youth Offending Service Reparation Supervisor Heidi Luker who saw it
as an opportunity for creative achievement to take place with young offenders. The project is based on the
concept of „Closing the Circle‟ taken from the North American Indian belief that when a crime has been
committed within a community, a circle has been broken. Restoration can only be achieved when the
offender closes the circle by making amends to their local community.

Young offenders have worked in conjunction with Heidi and dry stone wall builders and as a consequence
have learnt useful skills as well as giving something back to the local community in the form of a seating or
picnic area.

Two fourteen year old young offenders worked on a one to one basis with Heidi learning stone carving and
working alongside her on individual carvings. Several more learnt dry-stone wall building, which allowed
them time and space to reflect on the implications of their offence, whilst learning new skills, helping to
improve the local environment and giving something back to the community.

One young offender suggested that „Closing the Circle‟ be used by other young people to sit and reflect on
their behaviour and their impact on others. He described it as a place for contemplation.

Heidi commented:

“The young lads I worked with took on a massive challenge when they started to carve and exceeded my
expectations for them, both in their attitude and what they were able to produce. They overcame periods of
doubt and worked through mistakes often coming up with their own solutions. One of the best moments for
me was when one of them said he was really proud of his work and took photos to show his family and

Bob Smith, Head of Derbyshire Youth Offending Service and member of Derbyshire Criminal Justice Board

“Inside Justice Week provides an opportunity for members of the public to see the work that‟s being carried
out in the criminal justice system. All too often, young people are on the receiving end of negative publicity
but The Stone Circle is a perfect example of youngsters giving something positive back to the community.

“The possibilities for repeating „Closing the Circle‟ in other public locations such as walking trails and parks
are endless and certainly something for the Derbyshire Youth Offending Service to consider for the future.”

The Stone Circle will be officially opened at the National Stone Centre, Middleton (near Wirksworth)
on Thursday 23 October at 1.00pm. Young people involved in building the circle will be present along
with members of Derbyshire Youth Offending Service.

For further information, contact:
Laura Gurnett
Derbyshire Criminal Justice Board
Communications Officer
T: 01773 733423
E: laura.gurnett.dcjb@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk


Derbyshire Criminal Justice Board is made up of Chief Officers from: Derbyshire Constabulary, the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS), Her Majesty‟s Courts Service, Her Majesty‟s Prison Service, Derbyshire
Probation Area, the Youth Offending Service (City and County), Safer Derbyshire, Victim Support and the
Legal Services Commission.


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