Tyne & Wear

Durham students go into prisons for criminology classes

Criminology students from the University of Durham are going into prison to learn alongside inmates.

Students will spend 10 weeks studying criminal justice with prisoners at HMP Durham and HMP Frankland.

They will cover areas such as whether prison works, the causes of crime and the criminalisation of drugs.

More than 20,000 students have completed similar courses in the USA since the idea of students sharing classes with prisoners started in 1997.

The course is based on the Inside-Out programmes run in America, which sees students spending time inside maximum security jails to learn about various aspects of prison life and the criminal justice system.

'Examine actions'

Durham professor Fiona Measham said: "This is a very powerful programme which will challenge both the inside and outside students and encourage them to open up about their pre-conceptions of each other.

"We will discuss the labels we attach to people and the feelings and emotions associated with them."

Angie Petit, deputy governor at Durham prison, said: "Durham prison is continuously looking for ways to help prisoners break the cycle of reoffending, whether through the work or education opportunities we provide.

"This partnership with Durham University will provide a new opportunity for prisoners to study alongside University students to discuss key issues in the criminal justice system.

"This will not only help them build new skills, it will also encourage them to re-examine the impact of their own actions on wider society."

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