December 2013: Prison visit gives students different view on life

A VISIT to HMP Altcourse, a prison in Fazackerley, Liverpool, had a profound effect on student Mason Brady.

Year 13 Law and Sociology students made the trip as part of their studies, to look at how prison aims to reform offenders and also to consider the reasons behind offending behaviour.

Mason said they watched a play performed by the offenders. It described how a young boy had got in with the wrong crowd and ended up in jail and while inside his brother died and the effect it had on him.

Mason said: “It was a very good play, especially considering the actors were amateurs.

“We then had a discussion with some of the prisoners about why they had done what they had.

“There was a guy in there who had murdered someone, but he had been brought up in care and been abused and he had been through so much in his life.” However, after serving 27 years in prison he had realised the massive impact his actions had had on others.

Mason learnt that prisoners only got rewards if they earnt them and more experienced prisoners helped the younger ones to cope when they were sent to prison.

The prison also has its own school, which give prisoners a chance to educate themselves, but Mason felt the rehabilitation offered to prisoners when they were released was not adequate enough to prevent some re-offending.