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YOUNGSTERS are being given a lesson in life the hard way - with a spell behind bars.

Teenagers at schools around north Derbyshire will be ‘jailed’ in a cell and also given the chance to chat with a prisoner as part of an initiative to encourage them to stay on the right side of the law.

Derbyshire County Council is organising the workshops with educational charity Prison Me No Way, which aims to prevent young people entering the criminal justice system.

So far, youngsters from Shirebrook Academy have been signed up and there are plans for more events later in the year.

The crime and safety awareness days are being run for secondary school students by the council, police, fire service, magistrates’ courts and prison service.

Activities include role play around various crime and anti-social behaviour scenarios, learning about the role emergency services play and how the criminal justice system works.

Coun Carol Hart, cabinet member for public health, said: “These activities support our work to encourage young people to think about the consequences of their actions and help keep them out of trouble.

“Sessions have been very well received and leave a lasting impression.”