Amanda was 18 when she was charged and sentenced to 22 months in Cornton Vale Prison for possession of a knife.
With a bright and promising future ahead of her, Amanda was an excellent school student looking to go on to university and study social work. However, after a moment of “madness”, her life took a much more difficult path.
Amanda went through a difficult period after her gran, who she lived with, passed away. She got a council house but fell in with a bad crowd and swapped studying hard for drinking heavily and lost touch with the rest of her family.
One evening, following a confrontation with her neighbour and fearing for her safety, Amanda picked up a knife from her kitchen for self-protection. Although she did not use the knife, she was arrested, charged with possession and was soon being held on remand in prison.
In 2007, she was sentenced to 22 months in jail for carrying a knife. Although her sentence ended when she left the prison gates, the impact has continued every day since.
“Although it was a difficult time in my life, there is absolutely no excuse for me to have picked up a knife and I regret that decision each and every day. No one was hurt, but the consequences on my life have been huge.
“Picking up a knife has meant that even the simplest things we take for granted in life are difficult, like getting a job or renting a flat. Instead of going to university and on to a good job, my life has been a lot harder. If I could turn back the clock, I would.”
Although no one was injured when Amanda picked up a knife, she can see both sides of the damage that knife crime causes. Her young nephew was stabbed four times when he was only 14 years old in 2011.
“Having seen the damage caused to my nephew by someone carrying a knife, it has really shown me how stupid I was to have picked up one myself. Physically he is okay now, but mentally I have noticed a real difference. Before the incident he was a young, vibrant teenager. Now he’s more reserved and apprehensive when going out. It’s such a waste.”
Since leaving prison Amanda has worked hard to turn her life around. She looks to live a positive and fulfilling life, and hopes to make a difference to others. Now in full-time employment, Amanda also gives some of her time supporting the social care charity Quarriers.
Amanda hopes that other people’s lives won’t go the same way as her own, and that by telling her story she can educate young people on the dangers and devastating consequences that carrying a knife can bring.