While most third years are stressing about their academic dissertation, I have a slightly more chilled time.
Not saying that I have a totally easier ride than an academic essay, but being able to chose a topic I enjoy has definitely helped.
I plan on writing a series of articles on prison – as the title of this blog highlights it will be called Behind Bars!
Getting into prisons is definitely not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it is by far the most interesting.
I got to see the different levels of security for getting into a prison, and how much everyone dislikes journalists.
From having my fingerprints taken, to being shown where the sniffer dog usually is, my first day was extremely interesting and exciting!
After speaking to an inmate, who got jailed for being part of a multi million pound drugs ring, and got arrested in Holland, I got the tour of the wings.
The cells were a lot bigger than I expected, but they were very snug – with everything in reach if you span in a circle.
The prison that I went to was a remand prison, so it was interesting to compare a short term sentence to a long term one. Long term prisoners seemed to have more personal effects in their rooms, the remand ones were a lot more bare.
Something that I did learn was that inmates can buy things online, like Playstations, games, DVD’s books etc. Obviously it has to be checked by security but I didn’t know that could happen.
Jobs in prison come second to education – no basic Level 1 in English and Maths and you won’t be able to work, part time or full.
Now my time in there wasn’t all sunshine and roses; I spoke to a Chaplain who had some very strong views on the state of prisons. (A hint, he’s not happy about how the staff or anyone else is treated AT ALL.)
I learnt the weird and somewhat grim lenghts that prisoners can go to for getting drugs into prison, to take or to sell. Debts are a massive issue in prisons, with one guard telling me how an inmate had boiling water and sugar thrown over him because he owed someone else money.
I’d like to write more, but that would be revealing too much of my exclusive interviews that I’m going to use for my project for my liking.
Hopefully it’s something that people would be interested in – it’s certainly a bit different!