As part of their A level studies, Upper Sixth Psychology students recently visited Erlestoke Prison, a category C prison in Devizes. The students enjoyed a varied and eye-opening day as they toured the prison facilities and discussed the treatment programmes administered to the prisoners by the forensic psychologists and specialist team members. The day provided a fascinating insight into life inside the prison; students had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the prison officers, as well as interviewing a prisoner who is half way through a 19-year sentence for murder. ​

All pupils expressed how much the visit had impacted them and how it was an experience they would never forget.   

One pupil commented: “This is by far the most interesting trip I have been on and it has changed my perspective of offenders. Before I went on the trip I believed that any criminal offence such as murder deserved life in prison but speaking to Paul (an offender who murdered his wife) made me change my perspective in a way that others wouldn’t understand without actually speaking face-to-face, and feeling the emotions of the offender.”

Another said: “The trip was a highly enlightening experience. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to understand and assess the motives behind crimes including domestic murder and the ability to interview a renowned prisoner. It was interesting that through our psychological understanding studied in our A-level course, we were able to understand the theories behind the treatments implemented to prisoners. Going to prison was (hopefully) a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget and a definite highlight within my Dean Close education.”

The visit was closely followed by an enrichment opportunity for Lower Sixth Psychology students to attend a Criminology Conference where they discussed reform, retribution and rehabilitation. The speakers included offenders with past convictions ranging from drug crimes to murder, with whom the students were able to have small group Q&A sessions.