The Policy Press is pleased to sponsor an annual Criminology prize at Greenwich University, awarded to a student chosen by the course leaders. This year’s winner, Elizabeth Reid, here discusses her reaction to winning the prize and her future career plans:
I was incredibly proud to find out that I had been awarded the 2012 Policy Press prize for Criminology at Greenwich University. , I felt rewarded the many hours of reading and revision and it validated my decision to return to study after working for two years after leaving college. Despite the opportunity for self-development in working for a financial services consultancy in the City, I felt that in order to truly feel a sense of fulfilment in my career I would have to follow my interest in both society and crime and ultimately find a job in the public sector.
As I didn’t immediately progress from college to university (through my own choice) there were some within my family and social circles who didn’t believe I would achieve success academically – but winning The Policy Press prize has definitely been something tangible that bolsters my own belief in myself.
I decided to undertake a degree in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies with the aim of working within the probation service. Probation has always been an area of interest to me as I grew up in South East London and have been involved with people who have experience with the police and the probation service. Whilst the police culture has never appealed to me, I have always understood probation in terms of rehabilitation and reform (whether or not this is true in practice). As a teenager I saw my friends attend Youth Offending Services and noticed the difference some of thestaff were able to make in changing the thought processes of these young people.
I am due to start training as a Community Panel Member for Lewisham Youth Offending Service and am very much looking forward to doing so. I hope that this volunteer work will stand me in good stead to pursue a career within the service once I have completed my degree. I am all too aware of how difficult it will be to begin a career within the Probation Service at a time when the Government are cutting public sector services so dramatically.
I have a firm belief that the problem with young people and crime in London stems from a continual lack of support within the family unit, followed by academic failure due to that lack of support resulting in a deficiency of self-belief and opportunity. This situation is reinforced by scathing media reports and contemptuous public views which results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is my hope that as a Youth Offending Team worker or probation officer I will be able to help those caught up in crime to believe that that there is a chance for change and that their own dreams for success are achievable, as well as working through the practical issues involved.