Ex-offenders give talk on prison life at Burnley sixth form

Some of the Thomas Whitham students at the talk
Some of the Thomas Whitham students at the talk
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Ex-offenders were invited into a Burnley sixth form to discuss what life is like in British prisons

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form decided to do something a little different for their criminology, psychology and law students.

The Behind Bars Conference is an educational programme delivered by the TLC Consultancies to sixth forms and colleges up and down the country, which credits itself as “bringing the real world into the field of academia.”

The conference is supposed to challenge students to think about if prison is a place for retribution, rehabilitation or punishment.

Each of the speakers were ex-offenders and took it in turns to explain their own personal journeys with criminal activity and the judicial system.

The ex-offenders spoke to the students about the labelling that is attached to past offenders and the impact it has on their life when coming back into society.

In the afternoon, the conference moved on to an insightful question and answer session, where students got the opportunity to quiz the speakers on their past offences, how it affected them and if the prison system is an effective punishment.

Adam Baxendale, the sixth form’s criminology teacher, said: “At Thomas Whitham Sixth Form we want to really bring our subjects to life. The Behind Bars conference gave the students a fantastic opportunity to put theory learned in the classroom into practice.

“Each speaker allowed the students to get inside their head in order to fully understand the causes and motivations of the real criminal.

“Students were told stories about the brutal reality of prison life which really challenged their media-induced preconceptions.

“This not to be missed event was fully enjoyed by all the students and the teachers involved, including guests from Year 11 of some of our feeder secondary schools.”

The Burnley based sixth form recently launched criminology and has had great success with 33% of the group enrolling onto the course.