On Monday 16th November a group of students on the Human Rights in Criminal Justice masters programme benefited from an educational tour of Limerick Prison. This opportunity to meet with prison officers and listen to prisoner experiences provides a forum where graduate students are able to further their knowledge of contemporary criminal justice issues and to bring their classroom learning to life.
The prison tour typically debunks myths and stereotypes of prison life and offenders. This is important in terms of offering the graduate student an opportunity for affective learning and to experience how the prison tour impacted personal ambivalence toward offenders, criminal justice policies and practice. Prior to the prison tour, one’s attitudes toward offenders and the criminal justice process might typically have been shaped by stereotypes and media images that the tour was able to debunk.
Dr Ger Coffey, Course Director of the LL.M./M.A. Human Rights in Criminal Justice masters programme, said:
“Students experienced the prison environment and gained an in-sight into the workings of a prison in this state. This is important in order to remove discussion in seminars from the abstract and to facilitate students’ understanding of the practicalities associated with criminal justice and sentencing processes.”
The prison tour for our graduate students is a useful way of stimulating critical thinking and active learning that academic seminars could not accomplish on the same level.