Psychology Students Behind Bars
By Daniel Griffiths
A2 psychology students, along with teacher Leanne McGeown, were given the
opportunity to visit HMP Kennet in Liverpool.
A category C prison, HMP Kennet holds prisoners that aren’t trusted in open
conditions, but are considered unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
However 25% of the 350 (all male) inmates are classed as category D prisoners, who
can be given Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL), enabling them to participate in
activities outside the prison that contribute to their eventual resettlement into the
community. This contrasts with the neighbouring Ashworth Hospital, one of only
three high security psychiatric hospitals in Britain, which holds some of Britain’s
most notorious offenders, such as the ‘Moors Murderer’ Ian Brady.
Students were given an introduction to the prison, including the reception where
new prisoners report and would be strip-searched before entry. Then they were
given a tour of the prison’s education centre where prisoners have the opportunity
to complete education courses such as plastering, sports studies and IT, which are all
accredited by Manchester College. Students also saw the visitor centre, an area
where, at defined times, family and friends can visit the prisoners.
An important part of the trip for the ‘future psychologists’ was when they met the
prison psychologist, whose overall role at the prison is to curb prisoners’ violent and
offending behaviour and look after individual prisoners’ well-being. She talked to
students about what her job at the prison involves, and vitally, how the students can
get into the same profession.
Finally, students visited the E wing of the prison, where they were able to explore
the prisoners’ cells, and to complete the experience students were locked in solitary
confinement to maybe, for a few minutes, imagine the prison through the inmates’