Final year students at Teesside University are part of a unique learning experience where they will be taught alongside serving prisoners to examine issues of crime, justice and society.
A group of 14 criminology and sociology students, known as ‘outside students’, will travel to Holme House Prison in Stockton every week to be taught alongside 14 male prisoners, ‘inside students’, as part of the Inside Out programme.
Inside Out was originally developed at Temple University in America to allow people on both sides of the prison walls to engage in collaborative learning and mutually benefit from each other’s views and experiences.
A group of academics from Teesside University travelled to America to undergo bespoke training and will now deliver the Inside Out programme over the course of a 14 week module.
It will provide a vital learning experience for outside students and contribute towards their final degree, while, at the same time, inside students will receive an accreditation to assist with further study or employment.
Laura Goldsack, Principal Lecturer in Criminology, said: “Teesside is one of only a handful of universities in the country offering the Inside Out programme. It is a fantastic opportunity which challenges perceptions, breaks down barriers and provides equal opportunities.”
The first session took place earlier this month, with the programme now set to run every year. Both sets of students taking part have been through a rigorous application process and meet strict selection criteria.
Jo Large, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology and part of the Inside Out teaching team added: “To learn side by side is a completely new experience and challenges perceptions of both the outside and inside students. It is very much group based and will create an open dialogue to help understand issues relating to crime, justice, freedom and inequality.
“Students who have participated in Inside Out have described it as a life-changing opportunity and it is fantastic to now be able to offer it here at Teesside University.”
Richard Phelan, Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Holme House. said “This is an important stage in our development as a Reform Prison, with Inside Out we are offering all the students on the programme an opportunity to study as equals, to challenge themselves and develop their understanding of the communities they live in.”