Thoughts from a Leeds-based student

When I began this module I was not sure what to expect.  I am quite shy, although I don’t appear to be, so even with no pre-conceptions the thought of an intimate classroom was quite daunting!  Once we arrived at the prison I just wanted to get in there and begin.  My thought process was if I just chuck myself in then hopefully the nerves will stop.  And they did!  The Full Sutton students were warm and inviting and within minutes we were happily settled and getting to know each other.

Within every taught session the Full Sutton students gave new and refreshing opinions I would not have considered.  With such a diverse group in background and ages there was never a dull dialogue!  However, we all respected everyone’s opinion and gave each other time to speak.  It was the most productive learning environment I have experienced.  The group’s educational background was mixed, but that held no prejudice as we all contributed and learnt from each other.

There were many mixed emotions throughout the time we spent in Full Sutton.  Conviction details were not disclosed to ensure an educational environment without stigma or bias.  However, once a personal connection is formed it is difficult to know that after graduation we will not be seeing our peers again.  I understand that the Full Sutton students have committed crimes, I am not in denial about this.  However, those in prison are often demonized by the media.  What I found within this module were intelligent, funny and caring people and it saddens me to think that some view prisoners wholly by their crime without consideration as to who they are.  No matter what a person has done, they are still a person.  The Full Sutton students have taught me more than they realise so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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