Prisoners out perform Criminology third-years in new modules

Probably because they’re not hungover

Third year Criminology will work with inmates behind the walls of local prisons. In a module entitled, ‘Inside-Out,’ they’ll work for ten weeks with prisoners. 

The weekly sessions at the Frankland Prison, once home to Harold Shipman, and Charles Bronson, have led to prisoners outperforming third-years at tests set by lecturers. Now, the 12 security doors are opened for classes with Criminology students.

Both undergrads and convicted criminals sit side-by-side, studying from the same textbooks and tutors. There, they’ll be asked to discuss a variety of topics with their each other like: “What causes crime?” and “Does prison work?”

Third years don’t have access to phones, laptops and social media while they’re behind bars. Experiencing how it feels to be stripped of liberties and the comforts we normally take for granted.

Fiona Measham, Professor of Criminology, and the module co-ordinator told The Independent: “We have gained a deeper understanding of humanity and the inhumanity of the prisoners’ experiences. The prisoners say they feel like humans again for the part of the week they do the course”.

Whilst being on the inside can often make some undergrads feel uneasy, Measham highlighted how well inmates have reacted to the course.

Due to the sheer amount of free time and lack of distractions facing convicts, they are able to dedicate themselves to their studies and the programme, unlike those of us experiencing the nightlife and social-media personalities of student life.

The “inside students” have also reportedly scored better on their essays than Durham’s finest Criminology students, but in all fairness, they do have limited access to Jägerbombs.

Durham Graduate, William Mills, who took the module last year told The Tab:

“Studying with the ‘inside’ students was an eye opening experience.

“Their views on the topics we studies and the way they arrived at their opinions really challenged us.

“Personally this made me think differently about the issues we explored; which included drug policy and the criminal justice system.

“They had always done all the reading too, which kept us ‘outsiders’ on our toes.

“Overall the experience was among the best of my time at University.

“My most memorable moment was our second class being interrupted by a prison guard who had become so captivated by the discussions going on around him, he decided to join in.”

The module is expected to expand into an all-female prison in the near future.