Research Opportunities for Criminal Justice with Offender Management Students.

Students who chose to enrol on the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management course soon found themselves working on projects for Governors and Prison Managers. In this blog, Louis Martin reflects on some of the activities first year students engaged in as well as studying on their course.

The Deputy Governor at HMP Stafford asked me if some students from the course could help him with a couple of projects in the prison. He wanted some work doing on the culture of prison officers in the prison and two of the first year students stepped up and went into the prison and set up focus groups to discuss some of the key themes operating within HMP Stafford.

Sinead Bowles and Farida Zerglaine interviewed staff and compiled a report for the governor with their findings. I proofread the report and with a few amendments this report is now on its way to HMPS Headquarters for perusal by one of the senior executives. Sinead even had the opportunity to meet Stan and Olie, the prison goats.

First year student Debbie Ball is set to work on a project for the Deputy Governor of HMP Drake Hall as soon as the ‘Lockdown’ lifts. I went over to meet with the team from Drake Hall in February and negotiated a partnership agreement with the Deputy Governor. He agreed to provide Debbie with security training and projects to get involved in. We also have our own Civic Fellow, Tim Bailey, who is a Prison Officer at Drake Hall to help out too. Tim is the Outreach Officer and his role is to find employment for the women in the prison. I hope that Tim will be able to help Debbie when she is working in the prison, so this is very exciting.

Sinead Bowles has also been working with me on a project in HMP Dovegate. We have been at work with the trainers at SERCO to deliver some training on report writing skills and the use of Microsoft Teams. Sinead delivered sessions using her own experience of report writing at Stafford to share tips and hints for the trainee officers to right incident reports. We are set to teach the new recruits how to use Teams for their own studies.

Taken together the first year students have had a fantastic opportunity to get engaged with field work and to enjoy a real flavour of the custodial sector.

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