'Behind Bars' - Psychology Trip

'Behind Bars' - Psychology Trip

Last November, the Year 13 Psychology students attended the annual ‘Behind Bars’ conference at the BAWA centre in Bristol. The day consisted of a range of speakers that had all committed different types of crimes and had all spent a varying degree of their life in prison. ‘Jim’ had been in and out of prison since 18, having spent much of his youth in young offender’s institutes. His crimes all involved burglary, the largest thing being a shed from a local B & Q! There was also ‘Brian’ who claimed to have been falsely accused of fraud and had spent his few years in prison locked up with a murderer – who was the final speaker. ‘Andy’ is out on a life license after spending 15 years in prison, due to causing death through grievous bodily harm. Now, a mere speeding ticket is enough to send Andy back to prison.

After the talks, students then sat in groups and were able to ask each speaker any question they wanted – this led to a heated debate between our students and ‘Jim’, who stated he felt no remorse for what he had done and may even commit crime in the future. Understandably, our students were outraged at the lack of his moral compass and regaled him their own experiences of theft (as victims!) and how they had been affected by it. However, other speakers gained the sympathy of the students after hearing how they were full of regret at how their actions had affected not only their victims but also their families. They commented on how they had never considered how a crime against one person ends up being against several, due to the lives it affects.

Students not only got to listen to the speakers explain the reasons for their criminal behaviours and of their time in prison, they were also selected to ‘fashion’ the different types of prison uniforms worn in Category A, B and C prisons. Patrick Sekinger, Jacob Fox and Joshua Clegg were our models for the day! The trip was a success and the students now have a deeper understanding of issues raised in Forensic Psychology having seen it brought to life by meeting everyday criminals.

SJC - Monday 14 January 2013