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The Guardian: What I learned from my semester studying with prisoners

Criminology 13 March 2019

Zac Nahouli, PhD student in Psychology, wrote an article for The Guardian about his semester studying with prisoners at HMP Pentonville.

Zac spent a semester on Westminster’s ‘Making Links’ programme, run by Dr Andreas Aresti and Dr Sacha Darke, to provide a direct link between prisons and Higher Education. The course enables Westminster students, called ‘outside learners’, to act as academic mentors for the inmates, called ‘inside learners’.

He explained: “Like many, my only ‘experience’ of prisons had been what I’d seen in the media. It’s usually depicted as a dangerous environment; this is such a permeating view in society that, when I told people I was visiting a prison, they mostly urged me to be careful. But this wouldn’t be an accurate way to describe the experience I had, or the inmates I met.”

He also spoke about the ongoing problem of violence in prisons and what can be done to improve this, saying: “Prisons are full of people with potential. And what use is prison if released inmates go on to reoffend? If we want to improve our society, a top priority should be to provide opportunities for the disadvantaged so they can help change it for the better.”

Read the full article on The Guardian.


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