Thursday, November 30, 2006

HMP Hindley

So today myself and 3 girls went on an educational visit to HMP Hindley in Wigan. It was quite an intimidating place to look at from the outside, and everywhere has locked doors, most of the doors have an additional barred door adjacent to it, so chances of getting around without keys are slim.

We had an introduction, then we were shown around one of the (empty) cell blocks, not quite the palaces the Daily Mail make them out to be. We went on a tour of the education department, visiting an art class, a gym, an ICT class, a Business Studies class and an induction assessment, where the inmates are assessed as to their academic abilities.

To say it's different from a school is an understatment, they often learn at a very basic level, but much of it is hands on learning, they run motor mechanic and brick laying courses. The lads we encountered in art and the gym just stared at us (well at the girls!), but in the ICT and Business classes they were in much smaller groups and we were able to see them working and engage with them. They ask a lot of questions and won't give up without an answer. They all have to do classes, but can choose subjects, the idea being to educate them so they can get a job on release, sadly there is around a 65% reoffending rate.

We got to meet Michael Shields, the celebrity within the prison, the difference between him and the other inmates was astounding, he was sat quietly, doing his induction and trying not to be noticed. We did get introduced to him, and from talking to him, he really didn't seem like the type to be there.

P.S at no point during the visit were we searched, we had to put our phones in a locker, and we were supervised going round, but there were a couple of times I could have slipped an inmate a bag of weed whilst the teacher's back was turned.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Do not pass Go, do not collect £200

We received a confirmation tonight for our visit to HMP Hindley, next Thursday, as part of our Education studies. The speaker we had from last Monday has arranged for a group of us to spend the day learning about the education system first hand.

I had better take my tear gas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

4 More weeks

I spent most of last week at home ill, hence no updates.
Now, with Christmas fast approaching, I'm up to my old tricks, selling unwanted stuff on ebay,
to give me a budget for buying presents.

We had an interesting lecture yesterday, a visiting speaker from a young offenders institute, to tell us all about the education system for the inmates. I'm not sure it's the kind of job I would like to do, the (as yet) unincarcerated youths you encounter in schools are bad enough.
It's good to hear that the education they receive can have a positive impact, they had one lad who went on to study maths at Cambridge apparently.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

1 Down, Many More To Go

Assignments that is. Finished my first and handed it in. 1500 words on SWOT analysis.

Last weekend I was home, drove down Thursday evening,went used car shopping on Friday (for my gf, not for me!), then to Reading on Sat, to do some planning for our holiday at Easter.
Went to St Albans firework display in the evening, as usual it was good but the weather was freezing. The picture is shamelessly stolen from the website of the display organisers, and is actually from 03.

Sunday, we had a family lunch together, which was nice, then I spent half an hour fumbling in the dark, trying to change a friend's car battery, without the proper tools. I did succeed, in case you are wondering.

My visit was topped off by 2 great church services on Sunday, I'm glad I stuck around for the evening service. People were surprised to see me, but most of them managed to feign happiness.

I left at around 10.30, got home at exactly 1.00 - I love driving at night since no-one else seems to and the roads are really empty.