The King's School in Macclesfield


    Sixth Form Students Get a Glimpse of Life Behind Bars

    Sixth Form Students Get a Glimpse of Life Behind Bars

    King’s Sixth Formers got a look at life behind bars when three former prisoners visited A Level Psychology students to tell of the harsh reality of a criminal conviction. The day-long conference ‘Behind Bars: Crime & Deviance’ was hosted by King’s and run by True Life Conferences to examine whether our prisons should be for punishment, retribution or rehabilitation.


    Carey Ratcliffe, King’s Psychology teacher, said: “Learning from those who have lived part of their lives behind bars gives our students a real-life glimpse not only of the true consequences of crime but of the many professionals who dedicate their lives to helping them change their behaviour.” 


    Conference Manager Andrew Lewis introduced three former prisoners Janice, Andrew and Jim who all spoke not just of the difficulties of life behind bars, but reflected on their crimes and the impact of a criminal record on their opportunities after release. The conference aims to cover issues including crime prevention, the legal system, forensic psychology, drug awareness, mental health awareness and tackling stereotypes.


    Andrew Lewis said: “We aim to show young people who want to work in related sectors such as the Law, policing, social work and prison welfare what the costs and realities of prison life are. What it is like to be labelled and then dealing with what can be a life-long stigma. We ask pupils to examine whether prison is really the best solution for some offences and whether the short sharp shock approach ever works. We also look at more serious offending, how those offenders think, and how we manage the segregation of dangerous individuals from society and the nature of punishment for wrong doing.”


    There are currently more than 85,000 men and women behind bars in Great Britain with the direct cost per prisoner before capital expenditure at some £25,000 per year. Andrew added: “As well as helping the young people who are thinking of working in related sectors, the ‘Behind Bars’ True Life Conference also serves to remind young people of just how the Law works and how inadvertently, just by getting up to the things that many teenagers get up to, they can be breaking the law and risking very serious consequences.”


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