Inside Knowlege Photograph 2 1024x437 - Prisoner Training & Placements

19 March 2024 –

LandWorks has partnered with the University of Plymouth’s School of Society and Culture on a unique education programme to support the university’s criminology and sociology degree studies and provide a powerful learning experience for LandWorks’ trainees and graduates.

For six weeks in February and March 2023, six students from the University of Plymouth visited LandWorks every Friday as part of a criminology and sociology degree module called Inside Knowledge: Crime and Justice in the 21st Century. The intensive six-week module is designed to take place within a criminal justice setting, such as a prison or resettlement organisation like LandWorks, so that students can learn alongside people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Each week, the course material was delivered to the six university students and six LandWorks trainees and graduates separately at their respective locations. The group then came together at LandWorks every Friday for discussion-based sessions where they were encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences.  Among the themes covered were ‘Does punishment work?’ and ‘What are prisons meant to be for?’ with topics ranging from prison, probation and community service to consumer culture and criminal identities, drugs, inequality, and crime and the media.

The ‘Inside Knowledge’ module had previously been delivered within a prison setting, but when the Ministry of Justice called a halt to the initiative last year, the University approached LandWorks to ensure their ‘Lived Experience’ module could continue.

“We were delighted to help the University of Plymouth keep the module alive and, in the process, we have discovered something really quite powerful,” said LandWorks Project Director, Chris Parsons. “I think we may be unique in being the only resettlement project directly involved in a degree module of this kind. Not only has it given the University students rare, first-hand insights into the difficulties faced by people in the criminal justice system; but the discussions provided our trainees and graduates with much food for thought. We are very keen to run the course again next year.”

Feedback from the Plymouth students has been wholly positive. “Being able to participate in the Inside Knowledge module has been the most rewarding and engaging experience throughout my entire time at Plymouth University,” said Charlotte. “Having the chance to develop a thorough insight into the problems of and opinions around the Criminal Justice System from a range of perspectives, influenced by a variety of lived experiences, has been truly unmissable.”

“Initially, I was very apprehensive and nervous about doing the inside knowledge module, especially interacting with individuals who have experienced the criminal justice system; however, I have learnt so much within these interactions at LandWorks,” revealed Chloe. “My favourite part was visiting LandWorks weekly, working with the trainees and listening to their personal lived experiences. I have learnt so much more about the criminal justice system and individual’s experiences by doing the field trips and building relationships with the trainees. I am grateful to have had the chance to take part in this module.”

The LandWorks trainees appreciated the opportunity to talk to the students and share their experiences. “I enjoyed working with the students, learning about the criminal justice system, and writing our presentations and practising them. I had fun,” said Sophie. “Working with different kinds of people having different experiences and opinions makes the things we all learn together more interesting,” added Isabelle. “The games were a good learning tool as it makes people get involved and is fun. Meeting the students was great, they are lovely.”